2018 is going to be a pivotal year in American politics. The Governors which are elected this year will be able to veto gerrymandered maps following the 2020 census, meaning that the impact of this year will be felt for a minimum of a decade. Being able to take a slight majority in the Senate (getting back to the maximum of 60 seats of 2009-2010 is going to be impossible right now) is going to significantly reduce the power of Donald Trump, protecting America from his homophobic, sexist, racist, and inequality driving policies.
The most important elections this year are without a doubt the local city, county, and state level elections. 87 out of 99 State legislatures are up for election this year, either in full, or in part. Granted, there is a lot of gerrymandering nationwide, but with Trump’s approval rating and being accused of federal crimes by his top staff of his campaign team, it is going to be a very hard year for the Republicans. Every person who chooses to run as a Republican this year needs to answer for the President’s behavior, and why they choose to associate themselves with someone whose presidency is failing in a way we haven’t seen since Richard Nixon. This gives the Democrats a massive advantage.
But, merely running as the anti-Trump party won’t be enough, because once Trump is gone we will need to have something to show that we stand for, not just against. We can start by looking at issues the majority of Americans agree on, which I have already written about here.
Particular priorities the Democratic Party can take on which I think will help win elections and gain support are:
- Improve the Affordable Care Act. Increase access to Medicaid, implement a Federal public option for health insurance. Make it so anyone can opt in for Medicaid or Medicare. Increase quality of Medicaid in many states by removing it from state government and make it run like Social Security Old Age Insurance where it doesn’t matter which state you live in.
- Paid parental leave for the first 4 weeks of a child’s life for both parents and grandparents. Increase the existing tax credit for parental leave to 100% for all businesses and all income levels.
- Implement the high speed train plan Obama proposed in 2009.
- Significantly increase federal subsidies for local transit, and building light rail in major cities across America. Significant federal subsidies if free transit for riders is implemented.
- Free community college tuition for everyone.
- Fully subsidize tuition at every public college.
- Significantly increase number of small business loans.
- Dismantle our nuclear arsenal which wastes tens of billions of dollars per year.
- Set a timeline to end our use of fossil fuels in transportation by 2030.
- No new pipelines in the United States. Respect the treaties with Native American nations.
- Implement a carbon tax which will increase at an exponential rate with no exemptions for any special interest group.
- Have capital gains taxed as regular income. This should balance the budget.
- Have tax rates be determined by an equation with 90% of households getting a negative income tax, and a top tax rate of 50%. Negative income tax for all households below $100,000 per year for a single person. Have adjustments for household size. Proposal available on my blog.
- End the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction which inflates the cost of housing and has no justifiable reason for existing.
- Implement a universal basic income to reduce income inequality.
- Pardon all standing student loans, and pay back all interest which has already been paid since 2008.
I started to write this, and most of the tenants are already on two existing lists. They are on the official Democratic Party Platform for 2016, and on my annual post about platforms which are based on majority support. Democrats are winning the generic battle for Congress and Trump’s support cannot even reach 40%. The platform is not the issue, and should not see any major changes this year or in 2020, it is already a progressive platform.
The only area where Democrats are doing worse than the GOP is in strategy. The party needs to be more supportive of local candidates first of all, and give them as much support as possible across the country at every level. We need grassroots democracy, because all politics is local, and the greatest Presidents in history start out by being great leaders of their communities.
When it comes to tipping point states, here is a list of states by their electoral college votes sorted by the Cook Partisan Voting Index:
|State||Number to ratify||Number of States||Votes||Number needed||Vote in 2016||PVI||Number of Votes||Number needed|
You notice Ohio and Florida? Their votes are unnecessary for winning the Presidential election. We should still try our best to win their Governorships, because that is about 8 seats in the House we can pick up between them, and because we can. Getting more control over their state legislatures will be a really big change in terms of constitutional amendments, growing Democratic leadership for the 20s, and gaining a strong base. To get a constitutional majority to amend the constitution we will need 3/4 of the State legislatures, or 2/3 to call a convention. The states we would need to gain in order to do this on top of the states we need to win the Presidency (from the most conservative to least, again by PVI) would be Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Arizona, Georgia, Texas, Alaska, Indiana,Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana, Montana, Kansas, and Alabama. In short, any amendment to the constitution will require bipartisan support.
Another bonus for the Presidential election is that Trump has a negative approval rating in every state I listed in the table above, as well as Iowa, Ohio, with North Carolina with a dead heat, given the Democrats a massive advantage to counter his incumbency advantage in 2020.
The biggest message for the Democrats this year, is go big or you will go home. We need to campaign as much as possible, candidates need to get out and talk to people nationwide, listen to their concerns, have an attitude to solve problems and then next year to succeed in following through.
The absolute most important races this year are the Governor races in a handful of states. 6 states with very Democratic PVI scores are Vermont, Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois, Maine, and New Mexico. We can pick up several of these states this year, and we also have a shot at getting Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. If we pick up Governorships in every state which have a PVI which swings towards the Democrats we will have 22 states, by picking up 9 new states (yes, it is that bad). Some of the governors are more moderate and popular, Massachusetts and Maryland will be hard to pick up. This election is the Democrats to win as long as they don’t screw up.
Interstate Vote Compact and State Legislatures
The best way to guarantee majority rule in the 2020 election will be to have a majority of states sign onto the Interestate Vote Compact. This will likely be the first step in eliminating the Electoral College altogether.
The good news is when it comes to the Interstate Vote Compact, the 11 most Democratic states have already signed on. We only need the 12 other Democratic leaning states to sign on in order to have a majority in 2020, forcing Trump to win a plurality of the vote in order to win, which is going to be very difficult given the Mueller Investigation which continues to pick people off of his election team faster than he can hire people. Some of these states, Delaware, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, have Democratic majorities in both houses and haven’t signed the compact yet. If they sign it will add 21 votes to the compact bringing the total to 190 out of the 270 needed. The remaining states which have split legislatures are Maine and Colorado which both have 18 R-17 D in their Senates. New York has a 32-31 R split in their Senate, and we can pick up at least one Senator this year. We just need to pick up one Senator seat in each of these three states and the Governor of Maine (which we will likely get) in order to pick up three valuable Trifectas.
If we could get a few more moderate states to sign on to the Interstate Vote Compact that would go a long ways towards making it pass. This is unlikely because it is almost impossible that it will benefit the Republicans, but the reasoning is that it is better for Democracy because it makes the Presidential election a popular vote as opposed to the Electoral College.
The legislatures with the slimmest Republican majorities (by percentage in both houses) are:
- Virginia (48% D)
- Maine (47.6% D)
- Illinois (47% D)
- Minnesota (46% D)
- Nevada (42% D)
- Arizona (42.5% D)
- Alaska (42.5% D)
- Iowa (40.9% D)
- Mississippi (38.58% D)
- Montana (38.5% D)
In order of number of seats we need to pick up in State Houses:
- Virginia (1 seat)
- Arizona (5 seats)
- Maine (5 seats)
- Michigan (8 seats)
- Montana (9 seats)
In order of number of seats we need to pick up in the State Senates:
- New York (1 seat) and TRIFECTA
- Colorado (1 seat) and TRIFECTA
- Maine (1 seat)
- Minnesota (1 seat)
- Virginia (1 seat)
- Arizona (2 seats)
- Nevada (2 seats)
- Wisconsin (3 seats)
- Alaska (4 seats)
- Iowa (5 seats)
- Florida (5 seats)
- Texas (5 seats)
- West Virginia (5 seats)
- South Carolina (5 seats)
I believe if we do this in the next 3 days, Democrats will win this week, and if we continue to push we can win a trifecta in 2020.