Oops! CNN FLASHBACK: ‘Why a Dem Landslide Could Crush the GOP for Next Decade’

November 5th, 2020 3:14 PM

Oops. Again. Don't count your chickens before they hatch, because sometimes you will end up with egg on your face as happened when CNN's Chris Cillizza gleefully anticipated in October that a Blue Wave election would carry over into state legislative races. What brought such joy to Chris was his expectation that those Democrat legislators would redistrict their states congressional delegations to favor their party.

Here is Cillizza on October 20 drooling over possibility of new Democrat state legislators in "Why a Democratic landslide in November could crush the GOP for the next decade (or more)."

With independent political handicappers revising upwards the likelihood of Joe Biden winning the presidency and Democratic gains in the Senate and House in recent days, there is now a reasonable chance that we may be looking at a major landslide up and down the ballot in two weeks' time.

Which would mean all the things we all know about: A Biden presidency with his party in charge of the Senate and with an expanded majority in the House.

But it might well also mean something else: A reversal of a decade's worth of Republican dominance at the state legislative level at an absolutely critical moment -- the decennial redrawing of state legislative and congressional district lines that can determine a party's national fate for a decade or more.

Of course, "a reversal of a decade's worth of Republican dominance at the state legislative level" is a prospect that filled Cillizza with much Blue Wave glee.

What we know for sure is that state legislative races -- even more than House races -- are heavily affected by the national political environment. Because many people have little to know idea who their state legislature is, they tend to just vote for whichever party they feel better about or, in these times, which party they feels less worse about.

Which means that if we are really looking at a landslide at the national level for Democrats, the wave will crash hardest -- and with the most impact -- at the state legislative level. And if it does, that could mean Republicans are suddenly on the opposite end of the stick they used to great advantage in the wake of the 2010 election -- and will be for the next decade.

Unfortunately for Chris, Wednesday's Politico had sad news for him in "‘A decade of power’: Statehouse wins position GOP to dominate redistricting."

An abysmal showing by Democrats in state legislative races on Tuesday not only denied them victories in Sun Belt and Rust Belt states that would have positioned them to advance their policy agenda — it also put the party at a disadvantage ahead of the redistricting that will determine the balance of power for the next decade.

The results could domino through politics in America, helping the GOP draw favorable congressional and state legislative maps by ensuring Democrats remain the minority party in key state legislatures. Ultimately, it could mean more Republicans in Washington — and in state capitals.

By Wednesday night, Democrats had not flipped a single statehouse chamber in its favor. And it remained completely blocked from the map-making process in several key states — including Texas, North Carolina and Florida, which could have a combined 82 congressional seats by 2022 — where the GOP retained control of the state legislatures.

Sniff! It's enough to cause Cillizza, who eagerly looked forward in October to Democrat post-election redistricting, to catch the Blue Wave blues.