Why Republicans Will Win Back the House in 2022

Republicans are licking their collective chops because the work they have done for decades will pay off for them big time in the 2022 midterms. Republicans have gained oversized power in state houses across the country. The dominance of Republicans in red and purple (battleground) states has been built up over time by running candidates for everything from dog catcher to school board to secretary of state. Republicans have built their power patiently and persistently. Once in control in state legislatures, they have gerrymandered districts and suppressed the vote of young people and people of color. Republicans never stop working to win every single election.

Fox News and conservative media have been allies of the GOP whipping up and freaking out already scared, brainwashed, outraged older white voters in red states and purple states to be certain they are motivated to vote. They marinate these people in fear using talk radio and Fox News (especially hosts like Hannity and Carlson) (also OAN, Newsmax, Sinclair and other platforms) keeping them jazzed up about culture war stuff and in a state of panic about black and brown people, the “boogeyman” coming to “replace” their culture, take their jobs and slit their throats. It’s effective. Frightened, outraged Republicans come out to vote, even in primaries.

Democrats have allowed this to happen because they have been relatively uninterested in local elections except when it’s a presidential election. This is changing now and it really really needs to change for the long term!

Even as the Republican party is less appealing to more Americans, dwindling in size, and being taken over by kooks and racists, Republicans currently rule 30 state legislatures while Democrats control only 18 state legislatures. Southern and rural red states have outsized representation in the Senate and consequently in their influence in Congress. Democratic senators represent 41 million more Americans. If our country was a true representational democracy the Senate would not be a 50/50 split but more like 60/40 Dems to Republicans.

This didn’t matter as much before our political world became ultra tribal and the GOP was swamped by right wing extremists and ultra wealthy (think Koch and Mercer families) conservatives, not to mention the nutballs that have come to dominate what used to be a Grand Old Party.  But it has become a problem of monumental proportions today.

Redistricting

This problem is about to get even worse. History tells us that the party in control of the White House almost always loses Congress in the midterm election. The loss is typically 27 seats in the House and 3.5 seats in the Senate. If history repeats itself in 2022, the GOP would retake the House and Senate in the midterms based on that alone. But that’s not all. The Census data is out now and many of the Trumpiest southern red states will be gaining seats in the House: Texas will gain 2, Florida, North Carolina, Oregon, Colorado and Montana will gain 1, for example. And other states including Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and NY will each lose a seat. It is predicted that this shift will be enough by itself to give Republicans a 12 seat advantage in the House.

This GOP take over seems to be coming even though Biden and the Dems are introducing popular national measures including Covid relief and New Deal style infrastructure build out being meeting with high approval from the American people. Infrastructure has a 68% approval rating and taxing corporations and the wealthy (making over $400,000) to get the funds for that build out enjoys a 64% and 65% approval rating. Nonetheless, Republican control of state houses and the power of those state legislatures to redraw district lines very soon means there will be partisan gerrymandered districts drawn to lock in future wins for the GOP until the next census, which is 10 years from now.

There are laws being passed by Georgia, Texas and other Republican led states, especially the battleground states with Republican legislatures, that would allow the Republicans to overturn the popular vote if there are allegations of fraud even if those allegations are baseless or unfounded. In this way the GOP is planning to cement its party’s future dominance for another decade and will cheat to do it even though they do not represent the will of a growing progressive majority in America. That lopsided MIS-representation will get significantly worse over time because the next generation is even more progressive than the electorate is today and will chafe under regressive Republican rule.

What Happens When GOP Controls 30 State Legislatures

GOP led state houses across the country are showing us what happens when a minority party tries to impose its will on a more progressive majority that has different goals and ideals. Punitive “ANTI” democratic legislation is being introduced across America since the 2020 election.  There are over 360 voter suppression laws being introduced. In Texas the Democrats walked out, stopping the vote because of the lack of a quorum, but the fight is not over. That bill is coming back for another vote this summer. There are also over 100 anti-LGBTQ bills coming up for votes in states across the country.  There are more than 60 anti-reproductive rights bills being passed in conservative states to challenge Roe v Wade even though the majority of Americans want abortion to be decided by a woman and her doctor. This is an attempt to stop the future from happening. This is what fear looks like.

We saw the result of fear based thinking in the bizarre, conspiracy laden beliefs of the Trumpian mob that stormed the Capitol.  These Trump supporters actually thought they were “taking back their government”. These Trumpian Republicans really truly think the world is crumbling around them, their culture is being cancelled because of the rise of brown and black people, women in power, and LGBTQ people.  What progressives see as an exciting evolution towards a more fair and just country is, for many Republicans, an apocalyptic horror.

I would feel sorry for these misled Trump supporting Republicans if I didn’t think they were being so unrealistic and disgustingly racist. I have worked with people of color in my career as a social worker, a lawyer and a career counselor. The color of someone’s skin or his or her sexual orientation says nothing about the merits of a person as a human being: a smart and capable contributor, a kind and caring person, an innovator, a great and wise friend, mother, father or grandparent. That’s the true value of a human being.

I doubt Trump supporters would be so easily manipulated by conservative media if they had had good experiences with people of color in their lives as they were growing up. Too many of them have not experienced positive interracial interactions or met good people from diverse backgrounds. Too many rural Republicans are close minded and not curious enough. We need a good, diverse Peace Corps in America, but that’s a topic for another blog post.

The Next Generation is More Progressive

The Next Generation won’t be so easily manipulated. They are responding to the Biden administration and  feeling hopeful about the future. Recent polling shows us how they are thinking. They are more progressive.

THE NEXT GENERATION — The Harvard Institute of Politics is out this morning with a new poll of 18- to 29-year-old Americans, and some of the results are fascinating: Biden has the highest favorability among this group of any first-term president over the 21 years this poll has been conducted. … Fifty-six percent of young Americans are hopeful about the country’s future, including 72% of Black people and 69% of Hispanic people. … Young Americans are more politically active than they used to be, and there’s been a big increase in progressive views.

More findings: Three-quarters of young Americans say they want more open-mindedness in politics. … They rank Facebook as the least trustworthy of 16 major institutions, and half want more Big Tech regulation. … Only 26% of young Republicans think Biden won fairly. … About one-third of young Americans have seen politics get in the way of a friendship. The full poll results.

Biden is Trying to Beat the Clock

The Biden administration is racing to meet the needs of the American people because they understand they only have limited time to produce results for the country. They can see what is coming in 2022. Biden has redefined the word bipartisan to mean he is doing what both Democrats AND Republican people in our country want him to do to make the country productive and unified and show that government can work for them not just the rich and well connected.

The hope is that persuadable politically Independent Americans and moderate Republicans will look past the disinformation they are getting from conservative media and see for themselves that this administration is on their side. If they understand who has their back, the hope is that that will rise up in 2022 and vote in large numbers to keep the Dems in control of the House and Senate despite the baked in the cake dominance of the GOP through shifting population, gerrymandering and voter suppression.

What Would End Gerrymandering and Voter Suppression?

There is something that would limit the GOP’s effort to cheat to stay in power. What is it?  The For the People Act, (House Bill 1/ Senate Bill 1). That Act would end partisan gerrymandering by mandating independent commissions to establish district voting lines. It would also end voter suppression efforts by sweeping away laws that make it harder to vote instead of easy to vote. If that Act were joined by the John Lewis Act, a return of the Voting Rights Act with oversight by the Dept of Justice, our country would have a far stronger democracy.

To be effective, however, the For the People Act must be passed by JULY 31!  Otherwise there won’t be enough time to prevent GOP-led state legislatures from passing partisan gerrymandered maps that will insure Republican power in federal representation in the House and Senate.

July 31st is the Drop Dead Date to Pass the For the People Act

Why?

Because of when the census data will be released to the states.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that it will deliver the Public Law 94-171 redistricting data to all states by Sept. 30, 2021.

Since Congress has a month long recess in August, the last chance to head off partisan gerrymandering in the states will be passage of the For the People Act no later than July 31st, 2021.

If the Act passes after that, in the fall or later, states will have already created their unfair maps.  There would be challenges in court and eventually a ruling by the Supreme Court which has, in the past, allowed partisan gerrymandering to stand. (In North Carolina). Anything later than passage in July of 2021 and the Democrats would be playing whack-a-mole trying to force states to redraw their maps. That’s ineffective and may not work.

What Can We Do?

The passage of the For the People Act will depend on whether the filibuster rule in the Senate can be modified or eliminated. To pass anything that has subject matter that is not budget related (reconciliation says passage by a simple majority is ok) or judicial or executive appointments (passage by simple majority is ok), 50 Dems in the Senate would have to find 10 more Republicans to join them. That will NEVER HAPPEN!! The Republicans are hell bent on staying in power. The Act would remove a Republican power tool that will allow them to be dominant despite being a minority party.

The Filibuster Needs an Overhaul

The filibuster rule has been altered before numerous times. It needs a modification again today. The filibuster was never intended by the Founders to permit a minority party to obstruct the will of the majority. When our democracy was first formed, the Senate, like the House, passed legislation by a SIMPLE MAJORITY. Over time racist southerners crafted a way to use the filibuster to prevent passage of civil rights legislation. In our era, Republicans began to use the filibuster to prevent passage of everything they didn’t like by imposing a supermajority for passage of nearly all legislation. The upshot has been a crippled Senate and the accurate perception by Americans that our government has devolved into endless gridlock. The way the filibuster has been used as a kill switch is robustly documented in Adam Jentleson’s informative book: Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy. 

If this bothers you, contact your Senator and insist the filibuster be modified so that legislation affecting our democracy can be passed with a simple majority vote.

 

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