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Reich writes: "Even if Democrats win every single 2018 House and Senate race for seats in places where Hillary Clinton won or Trump won by less than 3 percentage points - a good midterm victory by historical standards - Dems could still fall short of the House majority, and also lose five Senate seats."

Even with the political wind at their back, the Democrats are starting from a big disadvantage. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Even with the political wind at their back, the Democrats are starting from a big disadvantage. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


I Don't Want to Discourage You About 2018, but You Need to Understand How Daunting the Challenge Is

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Facebook Page

12 August 17

 

ven if Democrats win every single 2018 House and Senate race for seats in places where Hillary Clinton won or Trump won by less than 3 percentage points — a good midterm victory by historical standards — Dems could still fall short of the House majority, and also lose five Senate seats. Why?

  1. GOP gerrymandering and Democratic voters’ clustering in urban districts has moved the median House seat well to the right of the nation.

  2. Senate Democrats face particularly bad timing in 2018: They must defend 25 of their 48 seats while Republicans must defend just eight of their 52.

  3. Although Democrats have expanded their advantages in large urban centers in California and New York, these those two states elect only 4 percent of the Senate. Meanwhile, Republicans have made major advances in small rural states like Arkansas, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and West Virginia that wield disproportionate in the Senate relative to their populations.

That doesn’t mean Democrats can’t win back the House and Senate (they won control of both chambers in 2006 despite a Republican-bias that year) but even with the political wind at their back, they’re starting from a big disadvantage.

What do you think?


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Comments   

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+42 # DudeistPriest 2017-08-12 11:58
I think that if the Democrats don't make a sharp left turn they are going to find themselves the losers in 2018. People like myself, who remember when the Democrats supported unions and people - back in the 60's- have lost faith. The Clinton's have turned the party into Republican's light, and I would rather just stay home than vote for them. Let Trump finish destroying the country, perhaps a real leftist party will rise from the ashes.
 
 
+7 # futhark 2017-08-12 18:42
A much better idea than boycotting the election is to find a candidate who supports fair and reasonable programs. It is tough these days in states like California, where the "jungle primaries" make it almost impossible for a minor party candidate to make it to the general election, but I'm always open to supporting the Green Party candidate when the Republicans and Democrats are only offering up garbage.
 
 
+9 # IAMMe 2017-08-12 19:18
Quoting DudeistPriest:
I think that if the Democrats don't make a sharp left turn they are going to find themselves the losers in 2018. People like myself, who remember when the Democrats supported unions and people - back in the 60's- have lost faith. The Clinton's have turned the party into Republican's light, and I would rather just stay home than vote for them. Let Trump finish destroying the country, perhaps a real leftist party will rise from the ashes.


DudeistPriest I agree Dems need a sharp left turn, however we cannot afford to let Trump "destroy the country" because it won't just be the country. With global warming at stake, it's the world.
 
 
+2 # lfeuille 2017-08-12 20:05
Yes, I agree. They could win if they had to nerve to change, but they aren't doing what they have to. There isn't much time left.
 
 
-15 # ericlipps 2017-08-13 12:41
I think that if Democrats DO make a sharp left term they're going to get slaughtered. They'll lose ground both where they're already weak and where they are now strong.
 
 
+4 # librarian1984 2017-08-14 01:22
The party's been moving right for 25 years and, not coincidentally, we've lost thousands of state seats, governorships, House and Senate seats in the same time period.

Of course we need to move left. Progressives are the wing with a popular leader, a vision, an agenda, funding, enthusiasm and supporters.
 
 
0 # RMF 2017-08-13 15:56
Giving up is not how you win in politics and governing. It's a losing strategy, and runs high risk of pushing the Democratic Party further to right. And in meantime the GOP flushes what's left of representative democracy down the drain -- is that what you want?
 
 
-1 # chapdrum 2017-08-14 18:31
My observation is that the average American voter is by no means a leftist, and that is just one of the reasons we remain stuck with Republican light - over and over again.
 
 
+50 # ReconFire 2017-08-12 13:09
I think if we don't get started on the vote theft, disenfranchisem ent of voters, and cleaning out the Dem. party the rest doesn't matter.
 
 
+53 # librarian1984 2017-08-12 14:15
The party needs to adopt Sanders' agenda and give us honest primaries.
 
 
-11 # ericlipps 2017-08-13 12:44
Since in 2016 you seemed to define "honest primaries" as "primaries Bernie Sanders won," don't hold your breath for your vision of Democratic primary contests to come to pass. I wouldn't hold out much hope for Sanders' "agenda" to be adopted wholesale, either.
 
 
+3 # librarian1984 2017-08-14 01:28
How does one argue against straw men and mischaracterization?

The EJUSA report shows the evidence -- but of course you won't read it. We've been telling you about it for months.

Please, eric, just keep reminding us of what we CAN'T do, why we shouldn't try, why it won't work. Psychologist, heal thyself.
 
 
+1 # John S. Browne 2017-08-13 15:19
##

Hey, kiddo, have you seen that I responded to your PM message almost immediately? Please go check out, and reply to, my messages there. Thanks, "Lib".

##
 
 
0 # spenel334 2017-08-15 23:56
Honest primaries, yes, but how about honest elections. One of the steps in the republican party's long-term plan is to reduce the number of voters in major elections as much as possible, and they have been winning elections since 2000 by relying on this step. Those eliminated are by and large from minority groups, beginning with African Americans and Hispanics, mainly Democrats, of course.
 
 
+48 # Sunflower 2017-08-12 17:14
I think the Dems had better have a good alternative to offer! Being Republican-lite isn't going to cut it.

Medicare for all and a lot of other beneficial social programs would be a good start. And a good solid attack against
the criminals and psychos now running the gov, calling them out for what they are and who they represent, would be their best play. Cooperating with the Republicans would be well
deserved suicide.
 
 
+14 # Wise woman 2017-08-12 18:02
The only way the dems can even for one second think they can take back a majority in Congress is to openly support Bernie Sanders. To ignore the most popular politician in the country, is political suicide.
 
 
+7 # dwainwilder 2017-08-12 18:13
The DNC and its base need to learn how to talk AND LISTEN empathetically to people who voted for Trump an bought into the GOP story. Only then will they be able to campaign among these people effectively. I don't think there were enough racists and white nationalists to get Trump elected. We have to be able to speak with Christian Evangelicals and fundamentalists . As long Dems can only talk creatively to people who agree with Dems, Dems will lose.
 
 
0 # Femihumanist 2017-08-12 18:14
I agree with all four of the messages there before I came on. Nothing more to say.
 
 
+2 # ChrisCurrie 2017-08-12 18:23
I think Robert Reich is underestimating how widely HATED Republican politicians will be by then.
 
 
+9 # grandlakeguy 2017-08-12 19:10
W#hat do I think?
I think that Democrats need to turn the party over to Bernie Sanders and raise HOLY HELL about the FACT that American elections are absolutely fraudulent!

Perhaps if enough citizens realize that the right to elect the representatives of their choice has been stolen by the Republicans and by DNC rigged primaries a national strike could be staged to demand hand counted paper ballots and universal voter registration.

Anything less will be more election theater and the Dems will just fall short of regaining control...as usual.
 
 
-10 # ericlipps 2017-08-13 12:52
Quote:
What do I think?
I think that Democrats need to turn the party over to Bernie Sanders and raise HOLY HELL about the FACT that American elections are absolutely fraudulent!
For the Democratic Party turn itself over to
Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, would give the Republicans absolute control of U.S. politics for the next thirty years.

As for staging a national strike to whine about "DNC rigged primaries" (God, please put on a fresh disc) and Republican vote suppression, that would marginalize "progressives" even more than they already have been.
 
 
+4 # dbrize 2017-08-13 19:21
My Dear ericlipps:

My sincere thanks:

To read YOU of all people requesting someone else "...put on a fresh disc...", has provided a very much needed belly laugh, well worth the coffee spill.
 
 
+12 # grandlakeguy 2017-08-13 19:28
Bernie Sanders is a self proclaimed DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST...jus t like FDR.
What that means is operating government for the benefit of the general population!

GET YOUIR FACTS STRAIGHT ericlipps!
 
 
+3 # librarian1984 2017-08-14 01:31
Uh, in case you haven't noticed, under neoliberals we've already given absolute control to the GOP. A third grader could refute the nonsensical arguments you make.

And yet another reason to do nothing? Seems to be your specialty.
 
 
+7 # economagic 2017-08-12 19:36
In retrospect, I think a friend and I were right when we agreed after Kerry's craven cave-in in 2004, following Al Gore's tepid defense in the face of election irregularities, astroturf interruptions of the ballot counting, and the machinations of activist judges (yes, Virginia, they come in both flavors), that electoral politics will become increasingly irrelevant.

After eight years of "hope and change" we are a remarkably long way further down all of the wrong roads. By 2010 I was advocating battening down for a long hard pull of local self-reliance. Fortunately the Institute for Local Self-Reliance has now been working on such issues for more than 40 years, and many other groups are joining them every year, such as Slow Food and Slow Money.

I have read Timothy Snyder's "On Tyranny" (twice, and short as it is written a summary--we're there; cf. Charlottesville ), and am almost through Naomi Klein's "NO IS NOT ENOUGH"(sic!). Any other how-to manuals--no more history or philosophy--wou ld be welcome.

While I salute any and all who put their lives on the line to say a very loud NO to the tyranny (of which Trump is a symptom, definitely not the cause), I think it is time to repeat the Serenity Prayer, and while thinking globally, act locally (Rene Dubos), first in our own households (plant food and flowers, and get used to living on a lot less energy), and extending our acting as rapidly as possible to our neighborhoods, our communities, and our cities.
 
 
+9 # Pluto 2017-08-12 19:37
ReconFire is right. NOTHING DEMS DO IN TERMS OF POLICY WILL MATTER if they do not stop the GOP from disenfranchisin g voters, rigging electronic voting machines and gerrymandering. See The Best Democracy Money Can Buy at www.gregpalast.com. Read The Strip and Flip Election of 2016 by Harvey Wasserman. The GOP cannot win without cheating. Trump did not win. The election was stolen. We must stop them next time.
 
 
+1 # Inspired Citizen 2017-08-12 20:08
Remember #BernieOrBust? That was a handful of people organizing a national movement.

In the midterms, 468 mini-movements are needed to ask candidates for office to become a CFAR candidates "or else" they will lose the election.

RAP has an activists' website we're using to tutor volunteers on how to ask candidates to sign the Contract For American Renewal and build a district-wide list of voters.

Promise: See FAR or you won't go far.

https://citizensagainstplutocracy.wordpress.com/
 
 
-3 # ericlipps 2017-08-13 12:54
I remember #BernieorBust as a bust. All it managed was to encourage progressives to stay home and sulk, or flush their votes down the toilet by casting them for Jill Stein, on Election Day.

THAT sure worked out well. . . .
 
 
+3 # librarian1984 2017-08-14 01:38
More Sanders supporters voted for Clinton than 2008 Clinton supporters voted for Obama.

Sanders voters gave Clinton the popular vote win.

You should be thanking progressives.
 
 
+2 # Citizen Mike 2017-08-12 20:31
Resistance to Trump is the motivator, we will see lots of Dems and antitrump Reps elected, the important thing is to turn back fascism. Most of America is disgusted with the guy now, including his former supporters. Dems and antitrump Reps can find a bipartisan consensus against fascism.
 
 
+3 # John Cosmo 2017-08-13 00:00
The Democratic Party has failed to do the kind of self-critical soul-searching that the 2016 elections should have prompted. I don't see the Dems making the kind of effort to change policies or to change minds that would lead to any significant changes in 2018. They really need some new leadership.
 
 
-4 # spenel334 2017-08-13 01:08
It is not 1500 words. How much too long, so I know how much to shorten it?
 
 
0 # lobdillj 2017-08-13 03:01
Beware of Reich. He helped Clinton sell us globalization and though he now seems to understand he did us wrong, he has never apologized for it. Trust him at your own risk.
 
 
+6 # kando@ltidewater.net 2017-08-13 05:03
I think aiming to be the "lesser evil" party, even in this godforsaken, outmoded two party system, is poor strategy. We need a party with a bold, comprehensive platform that details how society's need will be met. Something to vote FOR, not merely against an even poorer alternative.
Isn't it time to work toward a truly more democratic system than the current one that was, let's face it, designed to sustain a slaveholder society?
 
 
+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-08-13 05:44
All the comments so far show exactly what the Dems should do. But the party bosses don't seen to know this or to be hearing it. They continue to follow the lead of their bankster donors and the Deep State. I especially think Sunflower's term "Republican-lit e" is appropriate.

The message is out there. Many people know it.

1. end the wasteful and criminal wars of the Bush/Cheney regime and use that money to rebuild US infrastructure.

2. move toward universal, single payer healthcare.

3. stop funding and promoting charter schools and begin serious reform of public schools. This would include smaller classes and freeing up teachers to build their own curricula.

4. stand for friendly and productive relations with all nations. End the Pivot to Asia and the provocations of the New Cold War. Stop regime changes everywhere in the world.

5. de-militarize police and begin a serious reform of police departments, prisons, and the protocols of the New Jim Crow.


There are lots more. The trouble is that no one trusts the current democrat leaders. They are all grifters. So the party needs to wipe itself clear as a first step. But this is not likely to happen, so right now I'd predict gains for republicans in 2018. This is a real tragedy.
 
 
-2 # John S. Browne 2017-08-13 15:18
##

Reich, how dare you come out against universal, single-payer, "Medicaid-for-A ll" healthcare!! And you claim to be a "progressive"?! Everyone should boycott reading ANY of your writings from hereon out!! You are a disgrace to freedom, liberty and rights, aka extremely evil "controlled 'opposition'", aka a sellout!! What's next, you going to come out against protecting Social Security, etc., and in favor of privatizing it and/or them?! Get out of our lives, "f/tool"!!

##
 
 
+2 # Blackjack 2017-08-13 16:30
Reich likely knows the Dems are headed for another defeat because they don't learn from their own history of losses and make positive changes. Lord knows, he's tried to get the message across, but Dems seem intent on expecting to win by being the lesser of evils. Didn't work in 2016, won't work again!
 
 
-1 # chapdrum 2017-08-14 13:39
All of this heavy lifting, just so we can return to the utopia of neoliberalism.
We must stop taking Republican politicians seriously, at all.
 
 
+1 # DongiC 2017-08-14 14:41
A new program can't be that difficult for the Democrats. Single payer in health insurance, paper ballots and other voting reforms, withdraw the army from Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Iraq, join the Paris Accords, a program to clean up the infrastructure, provide jobs making solar panels and wind turbines. Close some of the many tax loopholes and tax profits held overseas. This, I think, will be a good start.
 
 
0 # kcmwilson 2017-08-14 22:15
The Progressive left is not a majority of the Democratic party, but it is the energy and the enthusiasm and the heart of the party. The far right is the heart and energy of the Republican party and they were able to put Trump in office because there was no enthusiasm, energy or heart in the Democratic party. Had Hillary stayed home and counted her blessings as she should have we would now have a President Sanders and very possibly a Democratic Senate.
 
 
-1 # mentor 2017-08-15 11:42
It's obvious to me that the Dems need to be unabashedly progressive. They gain nothing from being overly calculating and corporatist. They also need a charismatic figure who can connect with all people. I continue to believe in Bernie Sanders, who, in his late seventies, has more substance and ability to connect than most politicians. He is the populist Trump pretended to be. I would like to see him run with the young Representative Joe Kennedy, who speaks with a voice we all need to hear. This would be a great generational span. Careful, calculating planning will not win the day!
 

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