How did ABC’s Good Morning America cover last night’s Republican sweep? By telling its listeners, this morning, that “the Republican brand is still very damaged.”
We’ve been hearing such statements about the Republican brand for years from ostensibly mainstream commentators. But where does the main stream actually flow? And what is the state of the Democrats’ brand, about which we never seem to hear anything?
The reality is that, seemingly unnoticed, the GOP has assumed the status of a majority party. This didn’t just happen last night; the trend has been underway for years. Nor is it merely the fact that beginning in January, Republicans will outnumber Democrats in the Senate by 54-46. Or that Republicans will control more House seats, probably around 247 compared to 185 for the Democrats, than at any time since the 1920s.
The trend toward Republican dominance is most visible at the state and local level. Next year, 32 states will have Republican governors; only 18 will be governed by Democrats. And Republicans will probably control a stunning 65 of the nation’s 98 partisan legislative chambers, almost exactly double the Democrats’ 33 chambers. In recent years, Americans have shown a clear preference at the state and local level for pulling the GOP lever.
So-called mainstream commentators, like Washington politicians, mostly live in a bubble. And it’s the same bubble: the I-don’t-know-anyone-who-voted-Republican, Sarah-Palin-is-an-idiot, Republicans-have-turned-off-young-people, all-the-cool-people-are-Democrats bubble. The bubble is where people think it is a big advantage to have Lena Dunham on their side.
But outside the bubble, where nearly all Americans live, voters have made Republicans the party of choice. The GOP has become America’s party–the party that reflects most Americans’ values and aspirations, and defends their interests. It is quite remarkable, and certainly an indictment of our chattering classes, that the GOP’s steady ascent to dominance has attracted so little notice. And what must have happened to the Democrats’ brand, to account for that party’s decline to minority status? That is a story that, for some reason, no one seems eager to tell.