By Sharon Jones
We all know that the Republicans are falling apart on the national level. Bravado, attacks, stories of the size of one’s manhood and a fractured field have taken their toll. One need only watch the extreme circus that has been the recent debates to realize what a mess they have become.
Well, believe it or not, the Democrats aren’t much better off.
The race for the presidency receives the most attention by far, but the presidency is only one of the three branches of the national government and totally removed from the local and state governments. The Republicans can be called a disaster in this race, but the Democrats are getting killed elsewhere and are also not exactly on solid ground in the presidential race.
Donald Trump seems to be marching toward the nomination but yet he suffers from horrible favorability ratings with 67 percent of voters saying they won’t support him. Hillary Clinton isn’t much better off with 56 percent of voters saying they won’t vote for her either. The only candidate with positive numbers in Bernie Sanders with ratings that are over 50 percent depending on the poll.
A lot of things could happen before the second Tuesday in November and it could be a tight run.
If the Republicans continue to make missteps, it is very likely that the Senate could move to the Democrats, but the House is strongly Republican and very unlikely to change.
The area that receives the least attention and where Republicans are dominant, is in state and local politics. Basically, the Democrats don’t rank at all. 30 states are fully controlled by Republicans (both the state legislature and the governorship) and only 11 by Democrats. It is a massive difference that seems to be continually compounding upon itself.
The Republican Party has shown tremendously greater ability to organize and sway votes at the state and local levels. With continued Republican control of so many states have come tremendous amounts of gerrymandering, the process of drawing political boundaries to favor one party over another, that dramatically impact the Democrat’s chances at both the national and state levels. This is only going to increasingly go against the Democrats as further Republican control of the states is maintained.
The hopes of the Democrats eventually leveling the playing field at the state and local levels are very slim due to one main factor; Democrats just don’t vote in non-presidential elections. Republicans have a committed base that shows up. This is why you lost your grandparents to Fox News a long time ago. They live it, breathe it and show up to vote in the off years while everyone else decided they would rather hit the bar after work instead of the polling place.
State governments have tremendous power that translates to national level. Between gerrymandering and controlling state political imperatives, the likelihood of Democrats again controlling the House of Representatives are fairly remote.
Despite all of the projections of the dates already being chiseled into the Republican tombstone, the party retains considerable influence and power. It is likely that elections at the national level will become increasingly difficult for the Republican Party as the nation becomes more diverse and minorities feel ostracized from what has become the party of older, white males. Regardless of the party’s attempt to win over those voters, the continued rhetoric needed to assuage the base of the party has only continued to push minorities away.
Nationally they are a mess right now. The Democrats aren’t considerably stronger in the current race, but at the state and local levels the Democrats have clearly fallen behind. The United States looks to be divided for some time to come.
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license
Sharon Jones has her degree in political science from UCLA. She is a new contributor to zenruption and is excited to have total freedom in what she writes. Brian McKay, the co-founder, thinks she has a crush on him but he is seriously delusional. She doesn’t and she never will.