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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dem Gains in State Legislatures Brighten Party’s Future

From “Democrats make big gains in state legislatures after beating expectations” by Phil McCausland at nbc.com:

National Democrats were fairly happy on Election Day as they dodged a predicted trouncing at the polls, but state Democrats might have even more to celebrate.

As with Congress, the president’s party typically faces a shellacking in state legislatures in the cycle after his election and few expected 2022 to be different, as Democrats prepared to lose ground across the country and fought to keep the few majorities they had.

But Democrats had a much better night on the state level than expected. With votes still being counted across the country, the party has flipped the Michigan state Senate away from Republican control, according to The New York Times, citing AP data. And Democrats appear on track to flip the state House in Michigan, as well as in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the nonpartisan organization that represents legislative chambers.

Democrats are also competitive in races to flip the legislative chambers in Arizona and New Hampshire, the NCSL said.

Republicans, meanwhile, consolidated power by creating supermajorities in both Florida legislative chambers as well as the North Carolina Senate, Wisconsin Senate, Iowa Senate and South Carolina House. They have not flipped any chambers as of yet.

Pennsylvania Democrats were already celebrating their wins in the state assembly, anticipating that they’ll take control for the first time since 2010. If Democrats do flip the Michigan House as well as the Senate, they’ll have full partisan control of the state for the first time in nearly 40 years following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s re-election this week.

McCausland adds, “Changes in legislative control could also have an impact on future elections….Democrats in Pennsylvania were already gearing up to head off similar challenges that they said threatened democracy, while in Michigan, Democrats were pulling together a long list of policy priorities they haven’t addressed in four decades….“This is clearly turning out to be a very, very good election for the Democrats, and it could get even better,” noted Ben Williams, program principal of elections and redistricting for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

One comment on “Dem Gains in State Legislatures Brighten Party’s Future

  1. Wade Riddick on

    Color me unsurprised by the midterm results, given the extensive and treacherous crosscurrents in politics today.

    Without a doubt, the unaddressed gerrymandering in North Carolina and Wisconsin not only affected the outrageous partisan skew in their state legislatures but it also suppressed turnout, contributing to the narrow Republican Senate victories. Gerrymandering has a little appreciated suppressive effect on statewide races. When your vote has no chance of affecting the outcome in a congressional district or local judicial and legislative races, you’re less likely to think voting is worth the bother and this drags on statewide contests where there is less truth to that despair. That’s gotta be worth at least the 1.5% margins in these two Senate races. Wherever this gerrymandering ended in 2022, like Michigan, Democrats had clear breakthroughs. I suspect if Texas weren’t so badly gerrymandered, it would already be quite clearly competitive. The gross gerrymander in Florida also exaggerated the Republican sweep there.

    Even more important factors in the 2022 results, however, have been overlooked. A week later and the talking heads still miss the most important demographic stories of the pandemic crisis: 1) Covid mortality and 2) the great pandemic migration. A year ago, I realized that the survival rates of the vaccinated combined with the partisan differences in vaccination rates would lead to approximately a net loss of fifty thousand Republican voters for every one hundred thousand Covid deaths. Since the vaccines appeared, at least a million people have died from Covid – and that skew in partisan death rates preceded the vaccines when red counties started prematurely lifting mask mandates and closures.

    Frankly, 1.5 million dead is just the death rate measured in patients one month after contracting Covid. The earlier Covid variants killed up to 20% more between month two and six but these are often passed off as heart failure, diabetes and stroke – despite the known fact Covid causes and aggravates all of these conditions, which you can see in the spiking “excess death” rates, the vast bulk of which constitute cardiovascular and cancer deaths. These aren’t due to putting off checkups. The evidence suggests that the supposedly “non-Covid” excess death rates are in fact caused directly by Covid because A) Covid drives these types of problems (through TLR4 signaling, if you must know) and B) the excess deaths perfectly track Covid case counts, rising and falling with them.

    Most of these short Covid deaths would be older men who tend to vote Republican anyway, even if vaccination rates weren’t skewed by partisanship. (I’ll leave off a psychological explanation as to why crypto-segregationists would flip out so self-destructively at the thought of being caught on the wrong side of cordons and quarantines they had built up for social “undesirables” over the centuries. “We’re not like *those* people,” seems to be the underlying excuse for dismissing Covid’s seriousness, as if wearing a mask was a confession to the world that they doubted the state of their own grace.)

    Though devastating, this analysis doesn’t even take into account how long Covid affected the electorate. Though vaccines are less protective against long Covid than short Covid death, there are still ten to thirty million long Covid cases now – some quite serious and involving dementia, stroke and organ failure, none of which is conducive to enthusiasm in life, for voting or anything else. Though long Covid falls more on women, that partisan skew in vaccination still creates a heavy social burden that the corporate press refuses to acknowledge.

    Neither the pandemic movements or the deaths and disability have been caught in the census statistics and therefore none of this data is in any polling or likely voter models. Inflationary currents may have shifted some wavering souls against the Democrats, but the lack of red county investments in education and health care took their toll. The 2022 results weren’t due just to young voters turning out who couldn’t be easily polled, but it was also older voters failing to show up because after they rejected reality, reality rejected them.

    That problem won’t go away with Trump. Donald Trump isn’t the fever; he’s the thermometer. Segregationists need an ice bath before their brain (Fox News?) explodes from the self-mutilating cognitive dissonance.

    In addition to Covid rejecting its deniers, American civilization is also about to get rejected by global warming, financial looting, rent-seeking, uncompetitive cartel control of markets, sickcare and an ever-giving cornucopia of other delusions flowing out of our “big lies.” We’ll need more than grievance conspiracy theories to rescue us from the very real damage.

    But if grievance is all you care about, Donald Trump will make a perfect House Speaker. All the incoming “Freedom” caucus wants to do is sabotage Biden and Trump is the best qualified for the job – attacking, offending, making noise and accomplishing nothing. Plus, the job will be a poisoned chalice, suiting most Republicans behind the scenes just fine.


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