Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A vision of the future

If you don't read openleft.com, you should. I can't say it with enough emphasis: Chris, Matt, Dave, et al--they get it.

Here's Chris Bowers:

So, what happens if this rout holds up, and Democrats score a trifecta that includes a 100 seat House majority and 60 seats in the Senate? In the extended entry, I take a look at the macro political ramifications of such a massive Democratic rout.
In my crystal ball I see:

* Republican Party moves to the right: Yes, that's correct--I am pretty sure the Republican Party will become even more conservative if they are entirely blown out in this election. The reason is simple: all remaining mechanisms for pushing left will have been either removed or discredited, while all mechanisms that push them to the right will remain intact. The Club for Growth will still play successfully in Republican primaries. Conservative media will become even more important to the conservatie rank and file, as a loss of this magnitude is heavily blamed on the dreaded "MSM." The party will still be owned by the same large and corporate donors who control it now. However, Republican "moderates" will have been pushed to the very edge of extinction, and borne the brunt of congressional losses / retirements. Moderating figures like John McCain will have been discredited. Self-identified moderates and liberals will have abandoned the Republican Party in droves, many now both identifying and registered as Democrats. The only thing left in the Republican Party will be the true winguts, and they will lurch the party even further to the right.

* Aimless, confused center-right punditry. With neoliberalism destroyed by nationalization, socially conservatives whites clearly losing their power as the center of the swing voting universe, and with the Republican Party pushed out of Congressional control for a long time, the center-right pundits that dominate cable nets, Sunday talk shows, and many large newspapers will be downright confused and aimless. The changes in David Brooks over the last two weeks are a good example of this. Mind you, they won't embrace progressivism, as their formative experiences in the 70's and 80's will still be too powerful to them. Also, most of them will hold onto their jobs and prominence, even if we score a couple more Olberman's and Maddow's. But their world will have been shattered, and they just won't know where to go for a while.

* The Democratic Party will lack a clear center of power and become more factional: Obama edged out the Clinton power center, but he didn't destroy it. They will now operate side by side. Same with the reviving progressive advocacy infrastructure, which Obama relented on a few weeks ago. The House will be a mess, with Hoyer, Blue Dogs, Speaker Pelosi, Emanuel / New Dems, and the emerging Progressives all holding a share of power. The Senate will continue to be the Senate, with most major legislation passing with 75 votes, not 60. Grassroots progressive infrastructure will be at it's peak, but also might lose steam under Democratic trifecta rule. While the party could never possibly be as factional as it was during the New Deal coalition, it will be more factional than it is now.

* Demographics cement Democratic congressional majority for at least six, and possibly sixteen, years: Since voting habits set in after a person reaches 30, a new generation that grew up and began voting under Bush will be used to voting for Democrats after this election. The country will continue to become less white and less Christian at rapid rates, providing Democrats with a natural edge in elections. While the country has given Republicans and conservatives roughly a 51%-48% base advantage in elections from 1986 forward, that 3% base edge will now flip toward Democrats. It isn't a guarantee, but it is a nice head start. With majorities approaching 100 and 20 seats in the House and Senate respectively, it will be enough to hold onto Congressional power for at least six years, and possibly sixteen.

* The country will still be in a world of hurt. This is perhaps the most important marco trend of all, and could cancel out all of the other trends listed here. The country will still face disasters on multiple fronts (militarily, economically, diplomatically, environmentally, etc), and it won't be easy to fix. The degree to which the Democratic trifecta is able to make the lives of Americans better will be the largest factor in determining future Democratic electoral prospects. The specific policies and factions that succeed, or fail, in making American lives better will go a long way toward deciding the upcoming factional fight in the Democratic Party, as well as the destination of the aging center-right punditry.

If we pull off the rout, that is how I see the future. What do you see following a huge Democratic landslide?