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On Democrats’ coming doom

Democrats’ already thin majorities seem unlikely to survive the midterm elections.

REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

I am leery — and I recommend the same attitude to you — of people who purport to know much about the future. That certainly includes knowledge of future election outcomes.

You can study the past for patterns, and you can apply those patterns to the future, but you need to be very humble about the second part of that exercise.

Close watchers of politics certainly study the past for clues to what may happen next, and they won’t stop; maybe it’s okay as long as they are humble about thinking this will give them predictions.

Hang onto that thought, and that preachment of humility. There’s never been a post-Trump era before. Trump said and acted in ways no president or presidential candidate ever did before, perhaps scrambling more than ever our ability to spin the recent past and the known present ahead to anticipate murky future. With all that in mind, I pass along two paragraphs from last weekend’s Ezra Klein column that went:

[H]ere’s the truly frightening thought for frustrated Democrats: This might be the high-water mark of power they’ll have for the next decade.

Democrats are on the precipice of an era without any hope of a governing majority. The coming year, while they still control the House, the Senate and the White House, is their last, best chance to alter course. To pass a package of democracy reforms that makes voting fairer and easier. To offer statehood to Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. To overhaul how the party talks and acts and thinks to win back the working-class voters — white and nonwhite — who have left them behind the electoral eight ball. If they fail, they will not get another chance. Not anytime soon.

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Of course, there’s a lot of political history behind Klein’s dark warning, which he borrows from David Shor, a young but nonetheless experienced member of Barack Obama’s political team. And most of it is common knowledge among even amateur political junkies, built on two well-known facts:

The party of the incumbent president almost always loses ground in congressional races. Biden’s Democratic Party has such skimpy majorities in both houses of Congress that it can afford virtually no net losses in either.

The kind of “democracy reforms” to which Klein refers above would almost surely be opposed by every Republican in Congress. So, to accomplish all or even any of the changes in Klein’s paragraphs above, it has to happen in 2022 or what little is left of 2021.

Another “of course:” You may have noted that the bare majorities that currently share party labels with the incumbent president are having trouble getting completely together on anything.

The full Klein column on Shor’s dark warnings can be accessed here. (That link to the same column as the one above.) It is headlined:

“David Shor Is Telling Democrats What They Don’t Want to Hear.”