Chris Ladd writes the GOPLifer blog at the Houston Chronicle, and he believes the 2014 midterms were a complete disaster for one of our political parties—and it's not the Democratic Party. Yes, Republicans took the Senate and some governors' mansions and some state legislatures. But a "blue wall" will ensure Democrats hold on to the White House in 2016 and take back the Senate:
For Republicans looking for ways that the party can once again take the lead in building a nationally relevant governing agenda, the 2014 election is a prelude to a disaster. Understanding this trend begins with a stark graphic.
Behold the Blue Wall:
The Blue Wall is block of states that no Republican Presidential candidate can realistically hope to win. Tuesday that block finally extended to New Hampshire, meaning that at the outset of any Presidential campaign, a minimally effective Democratic candidate can expect to win 257 electoral votes without even trying. That’s 257 out of the 270 needed to win. Arguably Virginia now sits behind that wall as well. Democrats won the Senate seat there without campaigning in a year when hardly anyone but Republicans showed up to vote and the GOP enjoyed its largest wave in modern history. Virginia would take that tally to 270. Again, that’s 270 out of 270.
This means that the next Presidential election, and all subsequent ones until a future party realignment, will be decided in the Democratic primary. Only by sweeping all nine of the states that remain in contention AND also flipping one impossibly Democratic state can a Republican candidate win the White House. What are the odds that a Republican candidate capable of passing muster with 2016 GOP primary voters can accomplish that feat? You do the math.
Republicans "control a far more modest Red Fortress," Ladd continues, that comes with just 149 electoral votes. Heartbroken/worried/nervous Dems will want to read the whole thing: Ladd manages to find the blue lining in every red cloud: Democrats hold power in the states that generate the most wealth, efforts by Republicans to suppress the vote are backfiring, voters in red states backed every Democratic ballot initiative (raising the minimum wage, legalizing pot), "personhood" amendments failed wherever they were on the ballot. The list goes on. Ladd ends by tearing into the GOP for focusing on bullshit non-issues that crank up its rapidly aging, ever-whiter base at the expense of the party's future prospects:
The global economy is undergoing a massive, accelerating transformation that promises massive new wealth and staggering challenges. We need heads-up, intelligent adaptations to capitalize on those challenges. 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's an uplifting read—and, hey, a Republican wrote it, so it can't be dismissed as wishful thinking from some liberal blogger who's been hitting the anti-anxiety meds too hard. But one item on Ladd's list of warnings for Republicans seems misplaced. This is a problem Democrats need to figure the fuck out already:
Republicans in 2014 were the most popular girl at a party no one attended. Voter turnout was awful.
Voter turnout was awful—young people, people of color, and city dwellers did not go to the polls. Democrats have got to figure out a way to turn out their base in off-year elections, or every other national election is going to be a Republican "wave."