“Republicans in 2014 were the most popular girl at a party no one attended.” These words were penned by a Houston Chronicle columnist named Chris Ladd, who also goes by the screen name “GOPlifer.” And a better summation of this year’s mid-terms we’ve never heard. Well, in all humility, apart from this one: “Every light bulb and dying star burns its brightest while burning out.” That’s a sentiment Ladd seemed to share in his recent column “The Missing Story of the 2014 Elections.” In a word: “supernova.”
Ladd, a long-time Republican devotee, spelled out quite clearly why this year’s mid-term results didn’t paint quite the rosy picture that the GOP likes to pretend they did. The GOP had everything going for it this year: A historically low voter turnout, an opposing-party president in his last term, loads of voter suppression laws, a system as rigged and crooked as a West Virginia backroad — the GOP victory should have been an overwhelming sweep. But the margin of victory was so narrow that long-term loss is practically assured at this point.
The (Growing) Blue Wall
At the core of the GOP’s problem lay the “Blue Wall,” a group of highly populated, powerful and wealthy states that the GOP simply doesn’t have a prayer of ever winning.
Behind the Blue Wall lay at least 257 electoral votes, and not a single Republican seat gained in a year when Republicans had everything going for them. And the Wall is growing. New Hampshire joined this year, and Republicans barely captured Virginia. and again, this was in a year when almost nobody but Republicans voted in Virginia, and Democratic candidates barely bothered campaigning. For all intents, the Dems practically conceded the state…and Republicans still barely pulled out a win. Once Virginia goes blue next year, the Dems will have 270 electoral votes — and even Georgia is looking up for play next election.
And Nebraska — NEBRASKA, for God’s sake — just sent its first Democrat to congress in over 50 years. The person he defeated: an ardent climate change denier on the payroll of big oil.
In short, Republicans would have to win every one of the toss-up states and flip a Blue state to have a prayer at winning a national election. At this point, we could run a POTATO for president and still win without spending a dollar. We say: Let’s go for the progressive Hail Mary while the opposition’s defense is weak. Forget Hillary…
President Bernie Sanders, anyone?
We’ve Got All the Money…and They’re Losing it
The states behind the Blue Wall are the wealthiest in the nation, with the most diverse investments in terms of products, exports and jobs. Most already know that the Dems have the money to buy Koch Industries ten times over…but the time is coming soon when that might not even be necessary.
The biggest hitting Red States (particularly Texas) are all in the same industry: fossil fuels. Oil, that is. The great irony here is that the “drill, baby, drill” crowd in these states may well have been their own undoing. The U.S.’s recent, simultaneous increase in oil production and efficiency have panic-dropped the price of oil worldwide. That’s good for most of us…not so much for places like Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Texas that are entirely dependent on it as an export. By 2025, when the U.S. is almost entirely free of the grip of the Middle East, they’ll be practically giving the stuff away.
The same goes for the GOP’s biggest backers, most notably the Koch Brothers and Exxon-Mobil. With their own profits dropping daily on nothing to be done about it, we shouldn’t expect to see any massive waves of donations. With less left to spend, and even less left to gain, expect to see the GOP’s deepest cash well start drying up soon.
People Still Hate Republican Policies
In almost every race where there was a Democratic initiative on the ballot, it passed. And in places where these initiatives didn’t pass (such as with Florida’s medical marijuana amendment) they still got a majority of the votes. And that goes in several Red States as well, where minimum wage increases opposed heavily by Republicans passed anyway.
Racism — Not a Winning Strategy These Days
About half of the Republicans in congress now come from former Confederate states; meanwhile, there’s not a single, white southern Dixiecrat in Congress now. Nevermind Ann Coulter’s assertions — the long process of the Southern Strategy begun in the 1960s has been completed, and every one of those Southern “social conservatives” have officially migrated to the Republican Party. In fact, in many parts of the white Confederacy, the GOP’s grip is stronger than ever…but that’s going to come back to haunt them later. From the Chronicle article:
“Vote suppression is working remarkably well, but that won’t last. Eventually Democrats will help people get the documentation they need to meet the ridiculous and confusing new requirements. The whole “voter integrity” sham may have given Republicans a one or maybe two-election boost in low-turnout races. Meanwhile we kissed off minority votes for the foreseeable future.”
From the Chronicle:
“Republicans, with their traditional leadership on commercial issues should be at the leading edge of planning to capitalize on this emerging environment.
What are we getting from Republicans? Climate denial, theocracy, thinly veiled racism, paranoia, and Benghazi hearings. Lots and lots of hearings on Benghazi.
It is almost too late for Republicans to participate in shaping the next wave of our economic and political transformation. The opportunities we inherited coming out of the Reagan Era are blinking out of existence one by one while we chase so-called “issues” so stupid, so blindingly disconnected from our emerging needs that our grandchildren will look back on our performance in much the same way that we see the failures of the generation that fought desegregation.”
In short: The Republican Party’s victory, a mild short-term gain foreshadowing a crushing collapse into utter irrelevance. It’s that star going supernova in the process of becoming a black hole…a tiny (but inescapable) singularity stuck in some Far Right corner of the universe called “Alabama.” Exactly what we’ve been saying for years.
But don’t feel bad, Chris, aka “GOPlifer.” It’s hard to see your own house falling down from the inside. It happens. The only real question at this point is…
Care to join the winning side now?