The loss of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to the republicans is the least of all worries facing democrats, says our U.S. Correspondent Tomas Mega from Nevada
The loss of the U. S. Senate may be but a small worry for erudite Democrats contemplating the party’s future. They are confronted by several disquieting realities that threaten their prospects to be a major influence in the America of tomorrow.
Let’s examine a few.
Thanks to State led gerrymandering, the U.S. House of Representatives could stay in Republican control for a generation. It is difficult, if not impossible, to foresee a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives under the current system of congressional districting. Too many Republican controlled congressional districts have too few Democrats and only a trace of minority Americans. It is the one reason why the Republican controlled chamber has little incentive to engage core Democratic themes such as immigration reform, gun control, gay marriage, the environment and habitual women’s rights issues, such as equal pay, contraception and abortion. Conservative rural America dominates the House of Representatives. The 2014 Congressional election results gave Republicans their second largest majority in sixty years. Republican incumbents are well aware that their constituents are likely to keep electing them as recognition for not supporting issues important to Democrats.
After her bruising loss to Obama in the 2008 primary, the scorching she endured as Secretary of State over the Benghazi incident and recent, well publicized health issues, some believe she is too weary for a punishing Presidential run
The Democratic minority in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives is reflective of what is happening in state politics. Thirty-one state governorships are now controlled by Republicans. Twenty-four states now have total Republican control (governorship, state assembly and state senate). Democrats have only seven states with total control, reduced from thirteen after the 2014 election. And 68 of 98 state legislatures in America are now controlled by Republicans. It is reasonable to expect a torrent of Conservative legislation at the state level, including ‘right-to-work’ laws which would allow workers to opt out of joining labour unions, challenges to the massive powers of the Environmental Protection Agency, cuts in personal and corporate income taxes, attacks on the power of state employee labour unions and new anti-abortion measures. All of this is bound to sicken Democrats who have little ability to counter this powerful conservative push.
A moderate Republican who speaks fluent Spanish, has a Bachelors degree in Latin American Studies and is married to a Mexican born woman, he may be the man to bridge the illusive gap of powerful Hispanic voters who turned away from Mitt Romney in 2012. That would be devastating for Democrats
A Conservative leaning U.S. Supreme court is also nauseating Democrats. Already the Court has gutted parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, seen by many Democrats as the pinnacle of their 1960’s era power.
This year, the Court will take up a new challenge against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which, if they rule in favour of the challenge, effectively eliminates the subsidies Obamacare recipients receive in thirty-four states where no state insurance exchanges were established. This would destroy one of the primary principles of Obamacare, leaving millions of people without the Federal subsidy which helps pay for their health insurance.
Ailing Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal, will be 82 in March. Despite speculation regarding her health, she shows no inclination to retire, potentially depriving President Obama of a chance to nominate another Liberal to take her place before he leaves office.
Perhaps most vexing for Democrats will be the potential Presidential candidates for both parties in 2016. Hillary Clinton, the current Democratic presumptive favourite, is no ‘shoe-in.’ She will be sixty-nine years old in 2016. If nominated and elected, she and Ronald Reagan would be the oldest Americans in history to become President. After her bruising loss to Obama in the 2008 primary, the scorching she endured as Secretary of State over the Benghazi incident and recent, well publicized health issues, some believe she is too weary for a punishing Presidential run. According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, she is rapidly losing support among white, working-class voters, historically a strong base of support for Democratic presidential candidates. In her home state of Arkansas, Republicans enjoyed a near landslide sweep in 2014, leaving the state without a single federal or state Democratic office-holder. If early polls show she cannot win the White House in her home state, it’s a bad sign for Democrats. Then there is the matter of what she has actually accomplished in her political career. While her CV is impressive, finding actual measurable achievement is a more difficult task. Many Americans are asking what has she really done.
With the party’s losses at the national and state level in 2014, Democrats have heaved further to the left. Much has been recently made of the presidential aspirations of first term ultra-Liberal Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Whether her ultra-liberal credentials can carry her to the White House in today’s conservative leaning America is a question Democratic strategists will have to answer.
Former Florida Republican governor Jeb Bush is getting a lot of media attention. Clearly, with the Bush family name, he can raise obscene amounts of money for a campaign. A moderate Republican who speaks fluent Spanish, has a Bachelors degree in Latin American Studies and is married to a Mexican born woman, he may be the man to bridge the illusive gap of powerful Hispanic voters who turned away from Mitt Romney in 2012. That would be devastating for Democrats.
As with Democrats, Republicans must answer the question of who is an electable candidate. Is it Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul or even Mr. Romney? Both parties must manage the internal warfare over a moderate candidate who can attract independent and minority voters versus a far right or left candidate who will appeal only to the fringe elements of their parties. It all depends on how badly they want the White House and if they are willing to compromise ideology to get it.
For now, Republicans seem to have the political advantage across the board. That has Democrats peering through a thick, gloomy mist on the horizon, searching for answers to their political future.