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Mike Lux writes Can Democrats Retake the House in 2014?

The House results on Election Day 2012 were the only bad things that happened in what was otherwise obviously a pretty great day for Democrats and progressives. The biggest question for 2014 is whether we can find a way of turning that result around. Part of the answer, of course, is dependent on how the economy is doing. If the pessimists are right and things are not looking good, we will lose seats not gain them. But even if the economy is okay, do we have a chance at being the House majority after the 2014 elections?
Mike Lux
As many Democratic activists have pointed out, we actually won the overall votes in House races by the same 2% plus margin that Obama did, so re-districting dominated by Republican gerrymandering clearly played a big role in them holding on to the House. Democrats, though, are making a big mistake in attributing our failure solely to gerrymandering and essentially giving up on retaking the House the rest of this decade as many pundits are suggesting. I remember the same points being made after the 2002 and 2004 failures to retake the House, and in 2006 and 2008 we not only retook the House but added considerably to the margin in 2008.

The pundits will be predicting doom and gloom for sure. Not only did we fail to win the House back in a good Democratic year, they will remind us, but in the 6th year of a Presidency the president's party almost always loses seats. But historical trends never would have predicted a lot of things we have seen in politics over the last couple of decades (an African immigrant's son with a Muslim name being elected President for one, and then being re-elected in spite of a bad economy for another), and I've been in the middle of a couple big surprises in terms of the House over the years that are worth recalling here because of the lessons they teach.[…]

Having had tough years the past couple of cycles, Democrats started out the 2006 election cycle being very cautious on the issues. Bush’s first priority was Social Security privatization, and there was a lot of talk initially among Blue Dog Democrats about working with Bush on some kind of compromise bill. When the Terri Schiavo issue popped up, many Democrats initially were going along with the Republican demands to keep her on life support against her husband’s wishes. And on the Iraq war, Rahm was recruiting trying to recruit pro-war candidates thinking that was going to be the better politics in the 2006 elections.

In every one of these cases, the progressive community pushed back and demanded strong stands for progressive policies, and in each case, it turned out that the politics ended up showing the progressive community was 100% right, as taking a strong stand against Social Security privatization, against keeping Schiavo on life support against her husband’s wishes, and against the Iraq war all turned out to be great for the Democratic. These 3 issues, combined with a slowing economy and Hurricane Katrina, combined to create a wave election that swept Democrats in the House, Senate, and Governor’s seats into power.

The other key thing that progressives did was help expand the map.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003The Choice to Clean Up the Bush Mess at Interior:

The litany of damage done by a government of, by, and for Big Oil really is too much to try to delve into in one essay. Suffice it to say, the Iraq War wasn't the only gift to the friends of Bush and Cheney out to maximize profit.  When the nation was so willing to come together and make sacrifices for the nation in the wake of 9/11, and don't think anyone but BushCo had in mind sacrificing 50 million acres of our land, air and water quality, endangered species, ways of life. Surveying the wreckage is truly disheartening. It remains absolutely astounding how much damage could be accomplished in eight short years and on every imaginable front. It will also take an unimaginable effort to set it right, on every level.

Let's just take the last few months of midnight regulations as a start. Guns in National Parks. Uranium mining at the Grand Canyon. Oil and gas drilling in Utah's canyonlands, within in a few miles of a national park. Removing global warming as a consideration in endangered species listings. Allowing mining, drilling, logging and other extractive projects without consultation from scientists and federal habitat managers. Add on top of that the burrowing of some of Bush's most environmentally destructive political employees, and the incoming Obama team has a hell of a job on its hands.

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