This is an article I certainly don’t want to write but if you are going to be successful in sports or politics you have to be a realist. Primarily because of gerrymandering; but with significant assists from lies, voter suppression, voter intimidation and very possibly voter nullification I feel there is significant chance that the Democrats will not be able to retain the House in the 2022 elections.
One of the many great things about basketball is that you have free substitutions. In other words, you can sit starters down and reenter them. Late in a game that appears to be decided and all that remains in doubt is the final score for a variety of reasons coaches often pull their starters. The main reason is to “save” them for the next game by eliminating the chance of injury. Do you want to have to explain why your All-American broke an ankle up or down by 20 with two minutes to go?
Similarly in politics the allocators of the resources (primarily but not exclusively money) have to decide where they will get the best bang for their buck. In other words which races are most likely to be turned into victories. If it looks like retaining the House is a lost cause then the lion’s share of the resources will have to be channeled to winnable Senate races.
What got me to this point were several retirement announcements a few weeks ago. Specifically, those of David Price and G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina along with that of Jackie Speier of California.
While each case was in some way unique, the factors that I listed above are leading to the probability that the Democrats would lose the House certainly factored into their (and other’s) decisions.
North Carolina is a glaring example of the effects of gerrymandering. Republicans control both chambers of the General Assembly (what North Carolina calls its state legislature) and the governor (currently a Democrat) has no say in redistricting. Because of prior gerrymandering, despite the fact that Democratic House candidates received about 30,000 more votes than their Republican opponents, Republican took 8 of the 13 House races.
North Carolina picks up a fourteenth seat in 2022 and under the current Republican drawn redistricting plan 10 or 11 of those 14 seats would be held by a Republican. The state picked up one seat and the GOP would pick up 2 or 3. North Carolina is not alone and perhaps not even the most vile example.
The battle for voter nullification is even more insidious. Republican extremists have been working to scare off election workers (many of them unpaid or low paid volunteers or temporary workers) who almost without exception tried to be fair and believed in democracy. They are replacing them with extremists who will simply do the bidding of their master (currently Donald Trump) with no regard for the law or democracy.
They are also replacing partisan (but first fair) Board of Elections officials. In my days functioning within the party establishment, I appointed and influenced the appointment of several such officials. While they looked out for the interests of Democratic leaning voters, they were American who believed in fairness and democracy first!
The other major evil of gerrymandering is that by making the districts less competitive it invites candidates from the extremes of the parties. Keep in mind that voter turnout is much lower in primaries than in general elections and those who do vote in the primaries tend to be more at the extremes of either party. If you ever wondered how some extremist got elected; here is your answer. Now is it reasonable to expect an ever increasingly extreme House to reach agreement? I think not and history is proving me correct.
As is my habit, I got off on tangents so I need to get back to today’s core message. As much as I find it unpleasant, I think Democrats have to prepare themselves for the probability that they will have to largely abandon many House candidates in favor of the cause of preserving control of the Senate.
This article was written well ahead of publishing in order to accommodate my year end hiatus and is the property of tellthetruthonthem.com. Its content may not be used without citing the source. It may not be reproduced without the permission of Larry Marciniak.