Short-Term, Long-Term

A post-election article from the Houston Chronicle begins with a provocative projection that will comfort people depressed about the midterms:

Few things are as dangerous to a long term strategy as a short-term victory. Republicans this week scored the kind of win that sets one up for spectacular, catastrophic failure and no one is talking about it.

What emerges from the numbers is the continuation of a trend that has been in place for almost two decades. Once again, Republicans are disappearing from the competitive landscape at the national level across the most heavily populated sections of the country while intensifying their hold on a declining electoral bloc of aging, white, rural voters. The 2014 election not only continued that doomed pattern, it doubled down on it. As a result, it became apparent from the numbers last week that no Republican candidate has a credible shot at the White House in 2016, and the chance of the GOP holding the Senate for longer than two years is precisely zero.(emphasis mine)

The article follows this declaration with a matter-of-fact rundown of the electoral college votes–where they are and what a winner will need. His bottom line:

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.

The key to understanding that paragraph (not to mention our toxic political environment),  is “What are the odds that a Republican candidate capable of passing muster with GOP primary voters”….

As the article convincingly demonstrates, the crazies who appeal to the GOP’s current base  are winning in bright red, frequently gerrymandered, mostly rural districts. The problem is, those crazies have now become the (embarrassing) face of the Republican party nationally–making it impossible for the party to win national elections.

We ought not take too much comfort from that.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again–this country needs two adult, sane political parties. Right now, the GOP is controlled by a base that is neither adult nor sane. Unless the remaining Republican grown-ups (whose ranks are thinning) can reassert control, there will be no rational “loyal opposition” to keep Democrats focused and honest, no healthy competition to ensure that all ideas get thoroughly vetted, and no place to go–no alternative to vote for– for the disaffected.

America needs a rational GOP. We had one once, and I miss it.


  1. Well, I don’t know Sheila, whether to believe this futuristic prophecy or my lying eyes. It appears to me to be based on faith, the same faith that is guiding the pseudo religious GOP with all their money and blind followers. I am one of those old white people that are often blamed for the Republican wins and acceptance of their past century standards. Thinking about the back-and-forth comments on yesterday’s blog, I had a question pop into mind. Would – could – this country ever elect an openly gay president? We elected President Obama, a black man, twice and are now seriously looking at the possibility of a woman running in 2016. Would it matter if she is Democrat or Republican? Sarah Palin still has people hanging on her every word after her never-ending ignorant quotes and involvement in a drunken family brawl at a birthday party. But…she is a Republican and that is all staunch Republicans require, know and vote for.

    I know this country CAN pull out of the drastic loss of this past mid-term election; but WILL we? The flat-earth society of the GOP has more money, and right now more power, than the Democratic party and the majority of Americans who sat home and complained about condtions on November 4th. The Democratic voters seem to have dumbed down to Republican levels and are willing to accept losing more of everything – beginning with health care after January 1, 2015. Conflicting reports regarding high costs of ACA do not report who is increasing these costs or the fact that Republican state health care systems are blocking applications to ACA to those who want to apply. Indiana is a prime example of this; I know this first hand from a family member who, after more than 6 months (3 months past the ACA deadline) was finally notified she did qualify for coverage by one company through the state system at a monthly cost triple what she has been paying and with a $12,000 annual deductable. This disqualified her for applying to the ACA for health care for her family.

    Being 77, deaf and disabled, living on Social Security and PERF totaling barely above federal poverty level, I fear greatly for my future. My fear level has risen since November 4th; what will the GOP run House and Senate do to my income and my health care via Social Security and Medicare privatization. I received my newsletter from RIPEA last week; they proudly announced their application to state Legislature to add a COLA to our checks and lower the amount of our 13th check. I got out my trusty calculator and did some figuring; if their proposal is passed and I receive the COLA and lower 13th check I will be getting one cent LESS annually than I receive with only the 13th check. And these people are on my side in this Republican run state?

    I am not comforted.

  2. While I like the logic in your blog Sheila there is one factor that still worries me. America was designed to be a democracy with all that entails but Republicans in power are committed to turning us into an oligarchy with all that that entails.

    Either one is hard to replace once it is firmly empowered.

    So the question is, what progress will the Great Oligarchy Plot make in the next two years in becoming firmly entrenched? If we had, say, Mitt Romney as President now, I’d be more than worried. With President Obama left as the main defender of the American way, the odds tilt to in favor of the Constitution. Perhaps a wild card is SCOTUS.

    We have to accept that Obama’s vetoes over the next 2 years will be critical. We have to hope that Republicans can’t recover their traditional political party role and will continue on their single minded quest for irrelevance.

    I suppose the bottom line is our comfort comes in the form of the devil that we know. And there are no signs yet anyway of a devil that we don’t know.

  3. You liberals in Indiana need to start shouting to your turncoat Senator Donnolly who voted FOR the Keystone Pipeline yesterday and find out why? He voted yes with Sen Coats and someone that lives in that state better start a letter writing campaign to find out why this democratic party Senator is siding with the conservatives more than not. I have no hope for elections. The system is rigged and even democratic party member aren’t liberal anymore. WTH? Do you have one party or two? Do you have any party except idiots?

  4. ALG; what Donnelly has going for him is he is not a Republican. He especially is not Mourdock who stated that if rape victims got pregnant from the rape, God must have wanted her to have that baby. We went with what we had to offer on the Democratic ticket; would have done better to keep Senator Lugar in the Senate…probably for both parties.

  5. AGL; You will note that no mention of Donnelly’s position was made; No news article, no evening news spot, nothing. He knew he could do this in this state without percussion. Because he knew that Lugar had been primaried. And he may get primaried next time. I think the Dems plan to run Sarah against him in 2018. We were actually foolish enough to believe that any Democrat is better than a GOP. WRONG! Lugar was better than Donnelly and I crossed over to vote for him. It would have been an easy thing and something the Dems should have pushed for. Every Democrat in Indiana should have voted for Lugar in the Republican Primary. Now we pay for being dumb. Your Dem leaders never mentioned this. Never dreamed of compromising their lucrative positions. Have they been chastised for allowing this? No, and won’t be. They know our eyes are watching God.

  6. I am not comforted by the opinion in the Houston Chronicle. The author, and Democrats generally, continue to make the mistake of believing the other side is rational and honorable. While that is largely true of the rank-and-file, GOP leadership has demonstrated, over and over, that they are perfectly willing to lie, cheat and steal to win elections. They now have 2 years in which to put in place more voter suppression tactics, which worked quite well in this election. And we have to find a way to counter Fox News and the corporate-owned media.

    I’m seriously considering leaving the country if the Koch brothers’ buyout continues unabated. I can’t stand watching the destruction of my country.

  7. The democrats act like republicans possibly out of fear. They have abandoned their core principles and in the process have alienated their base. They need a leader with thevguts and brains to campaign on some real issues.

  8. Earl, you’re right. I haven’t seen a peep from that LIBERAL media that mentioned that he voted that way. If we elect Democrats to Congress they need to vote for the side that got them there. I voted for Lugar years ago and it was laughable that Murdock even had a forum for his hate speech. It was a shame about Lugar and yet, he got replaced by Coats? Another carpetbagger? Sheesh, Indiana is a mess and I’m a bit comforted that y’all agree with me. Good luck with that.

  9. Impossible? Maybe not. New Rule (with apologies to Bill Maher): All electoral votes in Blue and Purple states will be apportioned by Congressional District; in Red states, it is still winner take all. I haven’t done the math, but I don’t think impossible holds.

  10. So Indiana has one Democratic senator who sports a flaming red tie and supports the GOP 99% of the time. The other doesn’t really live in the state and will leave again as soon as he can. Things like that can’t happen by accident.

  11. Palin? LOL…sigh. Nobody ever question me about leaving the states to live in Europe, okay? Promise? k

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