Monday, May 29, 2017

Is There Hope In Numbers?

If you look at the results of the special elections for House seats thus far, there's not a lot of reason for finding optimism, unless you're a Republican.  True, the Democratic numbers in those elections are higher than they have been for the districts in question in past elections.  But just as politics isn't beanbag, it also isn't horseshoes; close doesn't count.  And there are plenty of Republicans who are more than happy to remind you of that fact.

But, if you're willing to look beyond the short-term numbers, there are some long-term numbers that are worth a look.

The first set of these comes by way of, which recently reported a marked decline in the percentage of voters expressing strong approval of Donald Trump.  That figure has, per Nate Silver, declined from about 30% to around 21% or 22%.  Putting it another way, it's down to about the level of support for Richard Nixon around the time that he was forced to resign from his Watergate-ruined Presidency.  Having lived though Watergate (and never dreaming until now that I might have a chance to live through it twice), I can recall that, even at that low level, there was concern about what Nixon's supporters might do in the wake of his resignation.  Fortunately, they did not turn violent.  That may be a worry that, in our present circumstances, we don't have the luxury of of not thinking about.  But it suggests that impeachment of Trump may not be a total fantasy, either. Keep in mind:  impeachment is a political, not a legal process, and it may be only another Congress away.

And longer term?  Take a look at this.  Can you blame them?  A lot of their elders would flee the GOP as well, if it weren't for the political and social capital they might lose.  Perhaps they might not lose as much as they fear if they did flee.

When a party chases a dying demographic using gerrymandering, dark money and voter fraud to corral them, it will not be a political party for long.  Let's hope they don't blow all of us up in the process.

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