Saturday, June 30, 2018


Dana Milbank thinks a reckoning is coming for the Republicans:
Now we have a Supreme Court nomination — the second in as many years — from an unpopular president who lost the popular vote by 2.8 million. The nominee will be forced through by also-unpopular Senate Republicans, who, like House Republicans, did not win a majority of the vote in 2016.

Compounding the outrage, each of the prospective nominees is all but certain, after joining the court, to support the eventual overturning of Roe v. Wade, which has held the nation together in a tenuous compromise on abortion for 45 years and is supported by two-thirds of Americans....

Republicans have been defying gravity for some time. As New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait reminds us in a smart piece, they lost the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections. Electoral college models show Republicans could plausibly continue to win the White House without popular majorities.

Because of partisan gerrymandering and other factors, Democrats could win by eight percentage points and still not gain control of the House, one study found. And the two-senators-per-state system (which awards people in Republican Wyoming 70 times more voting power than people in Democratic California) gives a big advantage to rural, Republican states.

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority has protected Republican minority rule. It gave the wealthy freedom to spend unlimited dark money on elections, while crippling the finances of unions. It sustained gerrymandering and voter-suppression laws that reduce participation of minority voters. And, of course, it gave the presidency to George W. Bush.

... how long do [Republicans] think they can sustain this? What happens when Roe is overturned?

The backlash is coming. It is the deserved consequence of minority-rule government protecting the rich over everybody else, corporations over workers, whites over nonwhites and despots over democracies. It will explode , God willing, at the ballot box and not in the streets.
It doesn't look as if it's coming via the ballot box anytime soon. As Milbank notes, an eight-point Democratic win in the overall House vote might not be enough for them to secure control of the House. Right now, Real Clear Politics says the Democratic lead is 5.9 points. FiveThirtyEight says it's 7.2.

It's possible that these polls are underestimating likely Democratic turnout. But even so, Democrats aren't likely to have more than a slim majority in the House. The best case in the Senate is a one- or two-seat majority, and that would require victories where they seem unlikely now, in Texas, for instance.

But let's imagine the rosiest scenario: Democrats win both houses of Congress this year. Trump struggles and is pinned down by the legal reckoning he's long deserved. Democrats sweep in 2020.

A proportional backlash would include not only a bipartisanship-be-damned crusade to enact an unapologetically progressive agenda. It would also include merciless gerrymandering in every state now controlled by Democrats. It would include anti-Republican vote suppression: the closing of polling places in white suburbs, along with efforts to identify GOP voters' habits and to create hurdles to voting based on those habits.

And even if Democrats could set in motion a process to overturn Citizens United -- which would probably require a constitutional amendment -- how could they reverse its effects? What process could give Democrats the built-in advantage Citizens United gave to Republicans?

In the foreseeable future, the pendulum is unlikely ever to swing as far to the left as it has to the right in recent years. So if it happens at the ballot box, it really won't be much of a backlash.

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