Today, while trolling DailyKos for different people's reactions to last night's election results, I came across azrefugee's diary entitled, The GOP crumbles into the dustbin of history. My first thought upon reading it was that as much as I agree with the poster on just about every point in the diary, I think we are likely to deal with the ravages of their destructive, nihilistic tendencies for years to come. I wrote a comment on this, which turned into this diary. I am not a political analyst, or pretend to be an expert in any of this. I share my thoughts merely to gauge people's reaction, and hopefully to encourage all of us to continue to fight for our Progressive values beyond Election day.
Details below the orange squiggle.
This is not news, especially here, but I don't think we can overstate just how disastrous 2010 was, not because of the Republican wave in the House, but because of the Republican wave at the state level. We had the damned bad luck of allowing Republicans to run the table in a redistricting year, which has allowed them to redistrict heavily in their favor every state where they had control. We therefore can and should expect the House to be heavily weighted toward Republican wins for a while, meaning it will be that much harder for Dems to take control.
If you for a moment put aside our lukewarm performance in the House last night, I think it's fair to say that we had a Democratic wave of sorts last night: PBO was re-elected in a virtual landslide, to be validated if Florida finally is called his way, and every progressive candidate in Daily Kos' "Upgrade the Senate" campaign was elected, not to mention supermajorities in both legislative bodies in California, a Democratic sweep of the Minnesota state legislature, a democratic sweep in every federal office in New Hampshire... the list goes on. In most respects this was a "dream come true" election for the Blue Team... except for the House of Representatives. Yes, one could take the pundit opinion that this was because of the bad economy, yadda yadda yadda, but I don't buy it. The only thing that makes sense to me is the redistricting of states where Republicans control state legislatures, and here's why.
First, just about every poll conducted before the election pointed out how sick and tired people in both parties are of gridlock. I couldn't find the numbers, but I distinctly remember a significant majority believed a split congress was not working, that they wanted a one-party congress. Yet for some mysterious reason known perhaps only to Karl Rove, or Dick Morris, this was not borne out of the election last night.
Second, I canvassed for this election like many on this site have, and from the response on the street I frankly don't buy that there were that many ticket splitters this election. We know for a fact that redistricting was done so as to dilute the effects of Democratic voters as much as possible everywhere Republicans could. This would absolutely explain to me how it's possible for President Obama to have carried Minnesota by 8 percentage points, while Michele Bachmann was able to eke out a victory late in the night (Minnesota was one of those state heavily redistricted in Repubs favor). The same or similar things could be said about Ohio, where I live. I am interested to hear from those who have actual numbers, whether they support this hypothesis.
Third, it is clear to me now that when you let Congressional redistricting happen by citizen initiative and not by legislative gerrymandering that Democrats get elected to office in large numbers. We didn't know this to be a proven fact until last night, when it was reported that California Democrats swept into office with super majorities in both legislative houses. As far as I know, California is the only state where redistricting is done by an "independent citizen panel". Ohio had an issue on the ballot that was not widely reported on, which would have brought us in Ohio California's brand of redistricting, or something like it. Unfortunately Issue 2 was soundly rejected, in my view largely due to the massive amounts of money spent by the opposition, not to mention their misleading attacks and fear-mongering. It's clear to me, and should be clear to everyone now, that the Ohio Republican Party saw this Issue as a clear and present danger to their prospects in this state.
We all put every ounce of energy into getting PBO and Democratic Senate candidates elected this election cycle. We now need to do the same, as someone else here has said, at the local level. We also need to do whatever it takes to get clones of Issue 2, or California's variant, on the ballot in every state where Obama won, and in every state where there are significant numbers of underrepresented Democrats. I don't believe in gerrymandering, but the people deserve a fair chance at accurate representation.
We also need to do everything we can to get OFA to put their organizational muscle behind helping local races go blue. We like to think that Republicans attacked us from the top down by carpetbombing states with attack ads, through the SuperPAC process, and through the faux movement that was/is the Tea Party, but while we were sleeping they did a sneak attack from the bottom up, starting with local races. And they did it on a census year. This is where they need to be attacked next.
I am over the moon celebrating Democratic victories along with everyone else on this site, and am breathing a very deep sigh of relief that we got it done, that PBO was re-elected to a second term. The signs are definitely there that the modern GOP is in its death-throes simply in terms of demographics, but unless demographic shifts accelerate in dramatic fashion or we figure something else out, we are stuck with their legacy for at least the next 8.
12:04 PM PT: Wow... my first time on the rec list! Thank you all for reading and for the recs. :)