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Are Democrats facing a generation in the wilderness?


This fall, Democrats have struggled to push their legislative agenda through Congress. They’ve argued among themselves, put off votes, and radically trimmed bills to try to get past the fact that their margin in the House is tissue-thin and in the Senate barely exists.

But what if, in terms of political power, this is as good as it gets for the party for years to come? 

Why We Wrote This

Democrats face serious electoral challenges in 2022 and beyond, which raises the stakes for what they’re doing now. But does that mean they should aim high or tread lightly?

That’s a discussion that’s exploded among activists as they take a hard look at upcoming elections. Democrats could easily lose both the House and Senate in 2022, given the map of seats up for grabs and the truism that the party that holds the White House typically loses ground in midterm votes.

Beyond that, things actually look worse. The concentration of Democratic voters in cities, and the dispersion of Republican voters throughout rural areas, gives the GOP a built-in advantage in the Senate and the Electoral College. Educational polarization may be accelerating this trend.

Given this, some members want to use their current majority to enact as many big, meaningful changes as they can. Others argue if the party is seen as overreaching, it will only further alienate the very voters it must win back if it has any hope of holding onto power.

This fall, Democrats have struggled to push their legislative agenda through Congress. They’ve argued among themselves, put off votes, and radically trimmed bills to try to get past the fact that their margin in the House is tissue-thin and in the Senate barely exists.

But what if, in terms of political power, this is as good as it gets for the Democratic Party for years to come? What if, electorally-speaking, they are doomed? 

That’s a discussion that’s exploded among party activists and officials in recent days as they take a hard look at their prospects in upcoming elections. Democrats could easily lose both the House and Senate in 2022, given the map of seats up for grabs and the truism that the party that holds the White House typically loses ground in midterm votes.

Why We Wrote This

Democrats face serious electoral challenges in 2022 and beyond, which raises the stakes for what they’re doing now. But does that mean they should aim high or tread lightly?

Beyond that, things actually look worse, according to some Democratic strategists and political experts. The concentration of Democratic voters in cities, and the dispersion of Republican voters throughout rural and exurban areas, gives the GOP a built-in advantage in the Senate and the Electoral College. Educational polarization – voters with college degrees moving to Democrats, and non-college voters shifting to the GOP – may be accelerating this geographic trend.

Democrats’ underlying fear is that an era of minority rule may lie ahead. Given the partisan bias of the Electoral College, due to the number of thinly-populated safe red states, Democrats have to win 52% of the popular vote just to have a 50-50 chance of winning the White House, according to one estimate. The Senate has even more of a partisan lean – it may be effectively 6 to 7 points redder than the country as a whole.





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Written by Politixia

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