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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

How the Midterm Elections Can Change U.S. Politics

There is already a fair amount of horse race coverage speculating on who will win which midterm elections in 2018. But those who want some insight as to how the midterm elections outcome could affect life in America should check out Andrew Prokop’s Vox post, “5 ways the 2018 midterms could change American politics: What’s really at stake in this year’s elections,” which notes,

Depending on how well Democrats do, the party could kill the Republican legislative agenda in Congress, gain new powers to investigate the Trump administration, get the ability to block Trump’s nominees from being confirmed, pass new liberal state laws in many parts of the country, and win many offices with power over the 2021 redistricting process.

Prokop discusses how the elections could help Dems or lead to further gridlock. But he also sketches a scary worst case scenario, and fleshes out each of his five points. He provides a good intro to the importance of the miderm elections, which could be used to help motivate Democratic campaign workers and voters, particularly the young ones whose hopes for a good life could be profoundly affected by the outcome of the midterms. As Prokop asks, “Do conservatives get more chances to enact their dream laws in 2019 and 2020 — laws that could have consequences for decades to come — or do they get stopped in their tracks?”

Prokop could have added a sixth point, that the very survival of American democracy may be at stake. If the Republicans somehow enhance their majorities, who is going to prevent further Russian meddling in our elections? Who is going to check the acceleration of income inequality? Who will prevent the gutting  of Social Security and Medicare, or the rape of the environment? “The stakes are high,” concludes Prokop, “and the consequences will be felt for a very long while indeed.

As Ed Kilgore has noted, Democrats are in very good shape to prevent all of this as 2018 begins, and the signs are in place for a broad ‘wave election’ favoring Dems. But the danger of political apathy and midterm voter drop-off are continuing concerns, and it’s going to take a great effort to build on the impressive electoral gains of 2017 to make it happen.

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