By Dave Andrusko
The “red wave” that is supposed to be coming this November which, (it is said) will give control of the House and perhaps the Senate to Republicans is not some inexorable force. No matter how rosy a party’s political fortunes may look four months out, inevitably something will happen that could change all that in a heartbeat.
Pro-lifers know these facts of political life. That’s why we celebrated the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Casey for a couple of weeks and then rolled our sleeves up and got back to work.
Why the quick return? Because we fully understand how crucially important the next elections are. We know that with rare exceptions, Democrats are enthusiastic about multiplying the number of abortions and are not particularly choosey how that is accomplished. Fair play is not in the Democrats’ playbook.
“How Democrats Lost Their Majorities” appeared in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. It is an overview that in a few hundred words captures where Democrats went off the rails.
Robert Showah tells us that “Since the Senate revised the filibuster rule in 1975 to make 60 votes the threshold, Democrats have twice earned supermajorities of that size and held more than 55 seats five times. Republicans have topped out at 55 seats.” But….
But Democratic Senate power is waning for a reason. In a union of states, power is earned by notching multiple victories proximate to voters. For much of the 20th century Democrats won by sustaining an impressive coalition of Southerners—a mix of conservative Dixiecrats and neoliberal Blue Dogs—along with a pro-union arm of Midwesterners. This coalition provided Democrats a bench of figures with statewide name recognition to succeed retiring Senate Democrats or compete for Republican-held seats. But since then, Democrats broadly have staked their attainment of federal power on the imperial coattails of presidential politics while neglecting to fend off a decadeslong ground-level offensive by Republicans emboldened by Democrats’ lurch leftward, including on abortion policy.
Or, as the subhead to his opinion piece reads, “The party narrowed its appeal to the left and surrendered its edge. Now it gripes that the Constitution is unfair.”
There are many points of interest but we’ll just talk about one other.
Republicans, aided hugely by pro-lifers voters, did the grunt work. And it paid off!
The first sign of return on the GOP’s grass-roots investment came in 1994, when Republicans went from fully controlling seven state legislatures to 15 and took control of the U.S. House for the first time in 40 years, even after Democrats largely controlled redistricting in states comprising about two-thirds of the national population.
Yet rather than look for ways Democrats can win back voters, some in the commentariat focus on expediently timed structural critiques of the Senate as favoring less populous states. Apart from being the point of the Senate, that structure was decisive in advancing legislation during the Obama and Clinton presidencies, which relied on several Democrats from states their party’s nominee failed to carry.
In other words, rather than put in the time, energy, and resources at the state level, by and large the Democrats response was to attempt to overcome their weaknesses by short-circuiting democracy. “Stack the court,” eliminate the filibuster, and do an-end around protective state laws by passing legislation such as the “Women’s Health Protection Act” that obliterating pro-life, pro-woman laws, present and future.
By eliminating virtually all candidates who are pro-life, Democrats put themselves in the position they now so bitterly lament. Turnabout truly is fair play.