Letting Mueller play himself at the hearing was a terrible idea. George Clooney would have been a much better Robert Mueller. It’s all about the optics. Imagine Watergate without Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. WoodStein as WoodStein? Seriously? Nixon would still be President.
As long as there is a woman candidate as good or better than any of the men running I have no intention of voting for a man in the Democratic primary. It’s time for a woman president. Twitter and Facebook seem to have forgotten this in the collective rush to support any man running. This has suddenly become the most testosterone charged nomination race I can remember, and it’s not the candidates’ fault, it’s social media. People will vote for anybody, it seems, and give money to anybody, as long as it has a cock.
Thrilled to see we won the House in a blue wave, despite James Carville. Did better than I thought in Senate, and way better with governors. Can’t wait to see state house results. I thought Nelson would and Gillum might win, sad, thought Kemp’s suppression would work, it did (decisively), and thought Beto would lose by 6 percent at least, maybe even ten. The Dems are back in the Midwest, Texas Mexican-Americans are finally voting like California Mexican-Americans (it’ll be azul in a decade) and they are a force in Arizona and Colorado, and I think it was Indians who nearly elected a Democrat governor in South Dakota. There are a hundred women in the House, millennials voted in vast herds, California is bluer then fuck, and while a Nazi was the only surviving Republican in Iowa’s congressional delegation, a Democrat won in Oklahoma and Kansas isn’t Kansas anymore.
Basically we kicked Trump’s ass from here to the Florida state line. That squishing you hear is the worm, turning.
Someone last night said that in that Georgia race the turn out was high for both Democrat and Republicans, but that the district just had more Republicans (and Republican leaning independents) than Democrats (and Democrat leaning independents). Still, though, it was close. Their side had only a few more votes than our side. I want to see the age data, though. If their side had lots more of the older voters than our side, and we had lots more of the younger voters than their side, then every election cycle in that district there will be less of their voters. This is how districts shift. This is how Glendale, California, for instance, went from being solid Republican to solid Democrat in twenty years. The Republican majority died off. Right now there are still lots of Baby Boomers around. Baby Boomers, despite their Woodstock image, are the most conservative generation since the 1920’s. It’s they who provide the winning margins to Trump and Trumpist candidates. And they are at that wonderful age where they vote as if their lives depended on it. Old people vote way more than young people and even more than middle aged people. That is a basic rule of American politics–old people just love to vote. Boomers are in their late fifties to early seventies now, a giant grey haired demographic bubble of a voting machine. Hence, we have Donald Trump. And wherever there’s a district full of Boomers, Trumpism will prevail. But it can’t last. It can’t even last a decade. Boomers are dying off, and will begin dying off faster and faster. And those rotten kids coming up to replace them are the most left wing bunch since the New Deal. So in the short run there will be lots of disappointments, a lot of elections where Democrats think they could win but get beaten by a wave of silver hairs who almost never miss the chance to vote. Add in the effects of voter suppression by the GOP and it just gives them an even better edge. It’s going to take ten or twenty years before this Trump cancer is eliminated from the body politic. He’ll be long dead and he will still have followers. But eventually they will disappear. In the short term those opposed to him, being that we vote less often than they do because we tend to be younger, will have to make extraordinary get out the vote efforts. Demographics more than any other factor drive voting trends, and voting trends decide elections. You will continue to be disappointed that we cannot seem to win over red districts. But there will be fewer and fewer red districts as the years go by. In the short term, unfortunately, Trump will do incredible damage. I wish there was way to avoid that short of waiting till 2020, but there isn’t. Even if he were to be removed from office, his people would still fill a Pence Administration, nor would a rock ribbed Indiana conservative like Pence make any move to undo much of Trump’s legacy. We are stuck with this for three more years, and it will take an extraordinary get out the vote effort and unity on our part to excise this monstrosity from the body politic. There will be no revolution, no magic wand, nor will Republicans decide they agree with everything we believe in and join us. We will not turn red voters into blue. We will just have to outlive them.
I can tell you all right now that unless there is an economic disaster and medical insurance catastrophe, 2018 might not be a very good year for Democrats. We are highly unlikely to win the Senate–indeed, we are likely to wind up with fewer Democratic senators than we have now–and the House might be a wash, maybe a few more Democrats or a few more Republicans, but we will not take the House. We might well expand our governorships, and maybe regain some of the legislative seats we lost last year (I believe we lost a thousand seats across the fifty states, an absolute calamity that few Democratic voters are even aware of). Perhaps if some vast and horrible scandal overtakes Trump then things could be different. Barring that, given how Trump’s supporters are spread across lots and lots of rural and small town America while Democrats are crammed into urban and suburban districts mostly on the coasts, there will be more districts with a Trump majority than with anti-Trump majorities. Rural voters are over represented as rural districts have smaller average populations than urban districts. And of course as far as the Senate goes, small states have the same number of seats as big states. So we will at best chip away at the GOP majority in the House, but in the Senate, 2018 is the year of the rural voter. And as Millennials move to where the jobs are, in the big city megalopolises found mostly along the coasts, the average age in these rural parts keeps aging, and older voters–us baby boomers–just adore Donald Trump. Only a third of the senate is up for grabs, but alas most of the states in 2018 are in those aging rural and small town states where Trump did really well. That’s just the way it rolls. This mess is unlikely to end until 2020, provided we don’t mess that up again. It might not end until 2024, by which time a whole lot of baby boomers will have died off and Millennials will be hitting that age when people finally start to vote regularly. Some candidate who probably none of us have heard of now and is thoroughly progressive will win that year, and our long national nightmare will be over. I’ll be 67.
The electoral college is all about congressional representation. Every state has a base of three–for the two senators and minimum one congressional seat. By themselves a small state–there are seven states with one district–have little electoral influence. But as a bloc they have electoral clout. Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas have 12 electoral votes between them that go GOP almost without fail, as many electoral votes as Washington state yet with less than half the population. But this isn’t as important as it used to be…there are two 3 vote states–Delaware and Vermont–that are solidly Democrat. And when you add up the populations of the GOP’s 4 electoral vote states in the Rockies and Plains, they equal in electoral votes states and population states like Pennsylvania. And a lot of states in the west–Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado–have begun turning regularly blue.
It’s in the bigger states that the Democrats get burned. Were California’s electoral votes allocated on the same population basis as Wyoming’s (plus two for the senators), we would have 202 instead of 55. Texas would have 142. Florida would have 105. New York would have 103. Illinois 68. The problem is that urban and suburban congressional districts tend to be more densely populated than rural districts. The more urban the state, the less the congressional representation. There are thirteen states with an average district size of over 600K people (California’s is over 700K) and only three of those have been reliably red in presidential elections (though at least two of those states, Texas and Georgia, will be purple battleground states within ten years, and probably blue in twenty). And of the 13 states with average congressional delegation size of less than 400K, eight have been reliably red. Democrats as a rule have the underrepresented districts, Republicans the overrepresented. To make things worse, the GOP has gerrymandered a lot of Democrats in some states into huge districts, and themselves into many smaller districts. Ohio’s majority Republican congressional delegation in a majority Democratic state is the most flagrant example….and though it has nothing to do with the electoral college, all those Republican congressmen running for office in their tidy white districts is one of the reasons Trump captured the state this year.
This disparity in congressional district population has been the only thing that has kept the GOP in the presidential game at all. Without it the Democrats would have an overwhelming electoral college majority. Even Trump flipping four reliably blue states this goofy year stills leaves him down by well over a million, maybe even two, in the popular vote. Were congressional districts allocated fairly, the Democrats would gain dramatically in the House of Representatives, and in the electoral college, and the GOP would shrink. Shrink a whole lot. Even so, inevitably, the tide is turning, as rural populations thin out and urban populations expand with kids moving in from the country and immigrants arriving and having 3 to 4 kids instead of the white’s 1 or 2 (or none at all). The white population of conservative suburban districts is aging and dying out (and will be leaving ghostly tracts of four and five bedroom houses too big for modern families) and is not being replaced by equal numbers of their own–indeed replaced by immigrants (think Orange County). The GOP has been overwhelmingly a baby boomer party–we have been the most conservative generation, by far, since the 1920’s–but we boomers failed to have enough kids to keep the ratio going. In another decade or so the GOP will cave in and become strictly regional, much as the original conservatives, the Federalists did. They elected the first two presidents but were gone by the 1820’s, swamped by the immigrants they hated. The GOP too is pretending that only their demographic truly deserve to vote, deserve even to be here. Alas, there are only so many white people born between 1946 and 1964, and the GOP has adamantly refused to expand beyond them. And their kids and grandkids don’t vote like they do at all. The electoral college will turn blue, even if we don’t ever change it.
As for Trump (I’m writing this the Friday after his election, as my fellow liberals still stumble about shocked and weeping, as I would be, if not for all the Prozac), he is the ultimate Baby Boomer candidate, if not a Boomer himself–he’s one of he Silent Generation, believe it or not–and Boomers are at their peak electoral power now. He may be incoherent half the time, but then wasn’t Bob Dylan? And Trump may come off like a loutish New York version of George Wallace, but then a helluva lot of us voted for George Wallace (a shocking number of the Gene McCarthy voters in 1968 voted for Wallace that November, and voted for Wallace in even bigger numbers in the 1972 primaries, especially in Michigan and Wisconsin.) Trump didn’t win many big states in a big way last Tuesday–Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin combined gave him a razor thin 107,000 vote margin, once all mail in ballots were counted (Hillary stomped all over Trump among those who vote by mail). Still, that was just enough to put all those upper midwest minorities and Gen Xers and Millennials with all their college degrees (far fewer Boomers went to college than did) in their place. You betcha.
There are still loads of us Boomers alive (I was born right smack in the middle of the boom, 1957), and we are at our peak voting years, our 50’s and 60’s. People vote with astonishing regularity at our age (you value regularity at our age) and this year we just happened to be angry and in the right combination of states to give Donald Trump an electoral vote majority with the worst disparity of popular votes ever. Hillary had a higher popular vote margin than not only Al Gore, but more than JFK (1960), Nixon (1968) and maybe even Carter (1976.) It’s like if you don’t win the Super Bowl by more than two touchdowns they give the trophy to the losing team. A constitutional shenanigan, really. As Hillary’s numbers are finally officially tallied–which could take weeks in California, where there is a mountain of mail in ballots, millions of them, being counted by hand–the scale of this shenanigan will dawn on everybody, and the notion of Donald Trump having a mandate for revolution will disappear into thin air. You need to win votes to launch a revolution. FDR did. Reagan did. George W. Bush didn’t. Bush is so now loathed by most Republicans it’s hard to believe he was one of their own, with a GOP approval rate above 90%. There’s not much love in the long run for those who win the electoral college but lose the popular vote–when was the last time you heard nice things about Rutherford B. Hayes or Benjamin Harrison?–and in the 2000 election Bush was down only half a million votes. Trump is down by much more. A popular vote deficit of historic proportions. Huge, even. Big league.
Oh well, all us Boomers will start dying off soon enough–the eldest if us are 70 now, and we used to smoke like chimneys–and Gen Xers and Millennials will finally outvote us in, oh, two election cycles. We’ll still vote plenty, of course, all crotchety and conservative, but we’ll at last be outnumbered by all those rotten kids. And you know how they vote, those rotten kids, overwhelmingly blue, in ratios not seen since FDR’s day. Even as they get grumpy and old themselves they will vote probably twice as Democrat as we do now. Certainly twice as liberal. They are the most liberal bunch since the New Deal. The Reagan Revolution was made possible because those original New Dealers were dying off (about three or four years earlier than we will, a whole election cycle). But the Reagan Revolution will fade the same way, as we Boomers die off. We are witnessing its final thrashings now. The New Deal lasted for 48 years, 1932-1980. The Reagan Revolution might last 40 years, 1980-2020. Apparently Reaganomics contained faster acting seeds of its own destruction. But I digress.
There are likely to be none of these absurd vote winner losing the presidency travesties once we are gone, taking the GOP with us. Once the whites only GOP disappears, there will be no need for imbalanced congressional districts. There will be no advantage of farmers having two or three or times as much political pull as city dwellers, or a rancher in Wyoming having 67 times as much electoral vote representation as a writer in Los Angeles. The electoral college will again be reduced to an archaic afterthought, and not a threat to democracy itself. Or so I hope.
(Wednesday, November 3, 2010)
Look at it this way–the combined Democratic increase in the House of Representatives in 2006/2008 was about fifty seats (51, actually). Now the GOP gets them back (they won sixty three). That’s been the trend in bad economic times throughout American history, going back as far as the late 19th century. During downturns, the balance in the house and senate swing dramatically back and forth. Odds are there’s a partial correction back towards the mean in 2012 (the Democrats gained only eight House seats, actually).
And all the GOP did was take one house. In the process they have driven themselves very far to the right and a lot of the new people will lose their seats in two years, like just happened to us. (They didn’t, actually, and gained another thirteen in 2014.) The GOP will now start tearing itself to shreds and the GOP establishment is on a war footing trying to block a Sarah Palin nomination (hard to believe she was considered the leading GOP contender in 2010). Let them go after the health care plan. People will hate them for it. People hate socialized medicine but they love the various elements of Obamacare. Watch what happens.
One of the great things about having only one house (The Democrats still held the Senate) is that there’s not a chance im hell you can get anything done so you can spend your time yelling and being extreme and posing for pictures and engaging in intra-party struggles and helping people run for president. This is no Newt Gingrich/Tom DeLay thing as in 1994. The Republican House majority will get nothing done. They will be playing to their own, which means playing hard right, and Americans don’t like the hard right. The media, however, loves the hard right. You wanna get on TV, scream you lie (which Senator Jim DeMint yelled at Obama in his 2010 Sate of the Union speech).
And there are a lot of nut cases now in the House and Senate. Rand Paul? And who knows whose in the House now. But think of this–Michelle Bachmann is a major player. I mean, that is a dream come true. And I could go on and on. This election is in many ways the best possible outcome for the Obama administration. The right gets to go nuts. The right gets to have a civil war. The right is threatened with the cataclysmic possibility of a Palin nomination and no way to stop it (and note how the 2012 primary schedule favors Palin…..Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, Florida….then Super Tuesday.) The left can go nuts fulminating over Palin. Centrists and indies can loathe Palin even more. The House can only make its presence felt by shutting down the government or trying to starve elements of the Health Care Plan and looking like scrooges. The right can try to undermine banking reform. The right can engage in witch hunt investigations over nothing. The right can push the birth certificate issue. The right sat sit there and watch DeMint and Rubio and all the new Tea Party people scream and yell and avoid reality. And people can learn to hate John Boehner, who is uniquely hateable, beginning with his tan.
Sit back and enjoy the ride.