I’ve been quiet for the past week as I wanted to avoid seventeen hundred words of straight profanity. I think I have had enough time to at least go through a couple of stages of coping so this is a post to outline some of my assumptions for the next four years. I’ll get to health policy in another post.
TLDR: We’re fucked hard and good
The first thing that I need to do is recap a simple and straightforward proposition. The Democratic coalition, even when it decided to not show up, is bigger than the Republican coalition. We are just extremely inefficiently located. We’re more popular, but we are locked out of power.
Both the House and the US presidency are now controlled by the party who lost both in terms of the aggregate popular vote. This is a fact.
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) November 10, 2016
This does not do shit on a practical basis but I think it is something we need to remember.
Some of that inefficiency is urban concentration, some of that inefficiency is the natural consequence of the Electoral College that empowers low population states and some of that inefficiency is deliberate policy. The deliberate policy decisions that make the Democratic supporting vote inefficient will get significantly worse. I expect mid-decade redistricting to become a norm in any state held by a Republican trifecta. I expect the Justice Department to not give a fuck about districts that take a 50-50 state and make it a 85-15 safe Republican state. I expect voter ID and voter intimidation to be a national policy.
I expect the Supreme Court to be a 5-4 reactionary majority on voter rights. I would not be shocked if there is a bill filed to expand the court to 11 or 13 Justices filed and floating around as a sword of Damocles to threaten Kennedy to vote for anything coming off of the Susan B. Anthony fund’s wishlist. I expect the filibuster to be gone by lunchtime on the first day of the new Congress.
I expect the Republican Party to use their position of concentrated minorities against a dispersed majority to do as much as they can to lock in as much of a partisan tilt as possible. Packing the courts is the big one as the Democrats have majorities on most of the Appeals circuits right now. Getting to Republican majorities via packing in 40 something Federalist society drones is extraordinarily efficient as that can only be altered quickly if the Democrats can get a trifecta and they re-pack. It’s nasty but efficient.
We’re going to see massive mistakes of basic execution (and many executions that should not occur even if one supports the death penalty) as competence does not matter. We will be governed by the Brietbart comments section. Any policy (even if it is a good one) that is more complex than allowing contributors to use the commons as a waste dump or passing out large checks to the already comfortable or beating up on liberals/Democrats/Other will get fucked up. Deep Water Horizon in the Trump Administration would still be leaking.
We are going to be in caveat emptor low trust/high verification cost world as fidicuary duty obligations disappear, as the CFPB disappears and Dodd-Frank unwinds.
We’re going to a world of 4 degrees of global warming baked into the cake if we’re lucky as any international agreement will only work if everyone else is willing to take pain to allow the US to free ride. That is an incredibly hard sell. I don’t think it will happen.
We’re going to see once again that deficits only matter when Democrats want to enact their policy agenda.
We’re going to see any larger opioid outbreaks in rural counties as Medicaid funded drug treatment will be harder.
We’re going to see a lot of counties that voted for Trump continue to get kicked in the balls economically.
We’re going to lose a lot of people that have options to go elsewhere in the world. Immigrants with an education will find other places to go.
We’re going to lose a lot.
Let’s acknowledge that and then let’s figure out how to fight to prevent the losses that are preventable and get back into a position where we have at least one veto point if not the entire shebang.
One of the things that needs to be figured out is three sets of turnout related problems. The first one is the Nevada problem — what went right there? Democrats picked up a pair of contestable House seats, they defended a Senate seat by electing the first Latina, and they got enough seats to take both the State Senate and the State House. What went right? This somewhat applies to New Hampshire as well (Senate Seat and the state for Clinton, lost the governorship)
The next question is the Pennsylvania question? Philadelphia and Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) both delivered for Clinton. These counties had Obama 2012 or better margins and raw vote counts this time around. The core urban base precincts turned out and did their job. The problem was the rest of the state (Erie County is a good example of county that usually gives Dems a good number but voted Trump on lower than 2012 turnout). What the hell happened there?
The final question is the Detroit/Milwaukee/Madison question — where the hell did their 2012 turnout go? Get those three cities to turnout with only half the drop-off seen between 2012 and 2016 and we’re in much better shape. So what happened and why?
To figure out what to do next, we must figure out what the hell just happened.