For the Democrats, the news is bad—and it’s about to get worse. Why? Because the ideological pendulum is swinging the Democrats to a far-left place, and a political party doesn’t win from the wings.
To be sure, no ideological swing is permanent, but for the next four years, it seems likely that the Democrats will push themselves leftward, to un-electability at the presidential level.
I’ll get to this pendulum-swinging in a moment, but first, let’s establish the current partisan baseline: In addition to Donald Trump winning the White House, the House Republicans will have 238 seats in the next Congress, and Senate Republicans will have 51. Meanwhile, out in the states, the GOP will control 33 governorships and 67 legislative chambers.
To further illustrate the hole that the Democrats find themselves in, here’s a chart from The Washington Post, which shows that in the last eight years, Democrats have lost 10.2 percent of their Senate seats, 19.3 percent of their House seats, 20.3 percent of their legislatures, and 35.7 percent of their governorships. We can add: These are the lowest Democratic numbers since 1928.
In the caustic words of Post reporter Philip Bump, “That whistling sound you hear is the party Thelma-and-Louise-ing.” Movie fans will recognize that as a reference to the ending scene in the 1991 movie Thelma and Louise, in which the title characters drive off a cliff, plunging to their death.