CARTER And ELLIS: Consigning Republicans To The Political Wilderness

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Some people simply detest Donald Trump.  A handful of those people, current and former Republicans, have formed a high-profile group dedicated to ousting the President and his congressional allies. They may honestly think they’re doing the “right thing,” but their efforts threaten to hobble the GOP and undermine everything Republicans hold dear.

These Never Trumpers believe a Democratic sweep in November will cleanse the Republican Party and lead to its resurgence in the 2022 midterm elections. They’re wrong.

Consider the Senate.  If Democrats win a net of four seats in November — certainly a possibility — to capture a modest 51-49 Senate majority, Republicans would need to win two seats in 2022 to reclaim control. But, to do that, Republicans would need to hold all 22 of their Senate seats up in 2022 and win two of the twelve Democratic-held Senate seats on the ballot that year.

Few, if any, of the twelve Democratic-held seats up in 2022 offer promising Republican pick-up opportunities. Hillary Clinton won all twelve states in 2016 and Joe Biden is poised to win them again this November.

In fact, in eight of the twelve states, Republicans haven’t won a single Senate race in decades:

  • Oregon:                20 years as of 2022
  • Vermont:             22
  • Washington:       28
  • New York:           30
  • California:           34
  • Connecticut:       40
  • Maryland:           42
  • Hawaii:                52

The remaining four Democratic-held 2022 in-cycle seats are hardly more promising for Republicans.  The most recent Republican win in any of those twelve states was Cory Gardner capturing Colorado in 2014.  And if the Never Trumpers have their way, Senator Gardner won’t win reelection this year.

The bottom line?  Should Republicans lose their Senate majority this year, they will undoubtedly be consigned to minority status until at least January 2025.

Now, consider the House. Democrats currently hold 232 seats — a mere 53.3 percent of the total — one of the smaller House majorities in the history of American politics.  A Democratic wave this year would strengthen the Democratic Party’s grip on the House not just for the next two years, but for years to come.

Why? A wave would likely result in Democrats picking up a considerable number of state legislative seats in November.  Just as the Republican wave of 2010 helped Republicans solidify their House majority via redistricting following the 2010 Census, Democrats would benefit throughout the 2020s from a wave coinciding with the 2020 Census.

As explained last year on Salon.com, a self-described “liberal news and opinion website,” “… we can defeat Trump and set up decades of progressive victories.  That requires winning the White House, the Senate, key state races that will determine redistricting, and protecting our majority in the House.”

If Democrats capture the White House and the Senate this November, they will likely maintain their congressional majorities for at least four years. As such, they have every incentive to neuter the legislative filibuster and pursue the most progressive legislative agenda since 1965.

We know this because Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have told us so.  The Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force report on Biden’s campaign webpage lays out their sweeping agenda all too clearly.  And, as Biden himself recently admitted, “if there’s no way to move [our legislative agenda] other than getting rid of the filibuster, that’s what we’ll do.”

Absent the legislative filibuster, Republicans won’t be on the defensive; they’ll be utterly defenseless.

Republican opposition to President Trump and his congressional allies, if it materializes in any meaningful way, is what makes this unimaginable outcome possible.

Finally, consider the U.S. Supreme Court and the judicial system.  Four of President Ronald Reagan’s nominees were confirmed to the Supreme Court.  President Donald Trump, having already had two of his nominees confirmed could, in a second term, easily match (or exceed) President Reagan’s success.

Four sitting Supreme Court justices are currently age 70 or older, the oldest two of which are Justices Ginsburg (age 87) and Breyer (age 82).  Their replacement by a Republican president could decidedly remake the ideological composition of the Supreme Court for years to come.  Today’s approximate 5-4 division between conservatives and liberals could give way to a 7-2 conservative majority.  That’s undeniably transformative!

Beyond the Supreme Court, President Trump has, to date, appointed more than 250 federal judges.  Those judicial appointments will shape national policy long after the Trump presidency is but a vague memory.  Consider what four more years of Republican judicial appointments could accomplish.

You may not like Donald Trump.  You may object to his in-your-face style and his unconventional approach to the presidency.  But, if you’re a Republican, your “principled” opposition to the President threatens to consign the Republican Party to the political wilderness and empower the left-wing of an increasingly radical Democratic Party.

James Carter served as the head of tax policy implementation on President Trump’s transition team.  Previously, he was a deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury and deputy undersecretary of labor under President George W. Bush.  Jim Ellis is the founder of the Ellis Insight election analysis service and Senior Political Analyst for the Business-Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC).