Sept 22, 2021

It's true that America's electorate is becoming younger, woker, less conservative, more dependent on government - and less Republican.

But Democrats cannot yet take a victory lap. Both 2022 and 2024 will be brutal.

Joe Biden wants to be a "transformative" president. The next two cycles will be referendums on the actual or potential transformations. Republicans possess three great advantages and are buoyed by one trend.

First, density defeats demographics. Democratic voter growth is concentrated in urban and some suburban areas with upscale progressive Whites and minorities, but is in decline in working-class smaller cities and has collapsed in rural and outlying suburban areas.

And second, Republicans have three firewalls: A dominance of state legislative chambers between the coasts (see chart), the venerable Electoral College, and the left-leaning Democratic brand, buttressed by Biden-Harris.

Democrats are packed into CA, OR, WA in the west, and NY, MD, MA and New England in the east, but there is still enough electoral votes in fly-over America to elect a Republican, but only with OH, PA, MI and WI. Add TX, FL, NC and the Republican South (except VA) and Republicans win. The prevailing Republican brand is essentially "we are not them."

One of Barack Obama's legacies was the Affordable Care Act, which passed in 2009. Another was the Republicans' thunderous pushback in the 2010 midterms and again in 2014. The most notable 2010 consequence was the takeover of more than a dozen state legislatures, including NC, PA, MI, MN, KY and a bunch in the Deep South, plus expanded majorities in FL, TX, OK, IN, MO and TN.

So it was Republicans that drew new congressional and legislative maps in 2011 after the 2010 census, and that legislative control has persisted into the 2020s, even through the anti-Trump debacle of 2018 and the Trump defeat of 2020.

As seen in the chart, Republicans still have legislative majorities in every state they won in 2010, and will draw the 2021 congressional remaps for 2022. They packed as many Democrats into as few districts as possible, and will likely do so again,

Legislators also constitute a party bench, recruitable for Congress or statewide office.

A popular legislator has an organization and campaign and fund-raising skills. A state like TN with 27R-6D/73R-23D, AR with 26R-9D/78R-22D and ID with 28R-7D/58R-12D, all with Republican governors, has NO Democratic candidate base.

CALIFORNIA (54 EVs): It's nice to know when you have hit rock bottom. Republicans thought they did in 2018 and rebounded a bit in 2020, winning four congressional seats (now 42D-11R). But Governor Gavin Newsom's 63.9 percent "Republican recall" win does not bode well for 2022. Homelessness and COVID were marginalized. Trump got 31.6 percent in 2016 and 34.3 percent in 2020. The CA population has spiked by 4 million since 2009, with Hispanics at 39 percent, Blacks at 7 and Asians at 15 percent, with Whites at 39 percent. The legislature was 25D-15R/50D-29R in 2009, and now 31D-9R/60D-19R. Republicans are backsliding, urban/suburban density is a blur, rural areas are down to 4.2 percent, but Asian voters are trending more Republican.

NEW YORK (28 EVs): Republicans were hoping Andrew Cuomo would be on the ballot, but new governor Kathy Hochul could be beatable given her vaccine policies. Long Island congressman Lee Zeldin (R) is running. Trump lost by 1,722,889 in 2020.

With 16 House seats in NYC, west Long Island and the north Westchester, plus Albany, Rochester and Buffalo, Democrats have a built-in 19D-8R edge (which it is now); it was 27D-2R after 2009. Changing demographics matter not, because every urban/suburban area is massively Democratic. The state has a unique system in which each chamber draws legislative districts for itself. The Senate was Republican through the early 2000s. It was 32D-30R in 2009 and is now 43D-20R; the House is 106D-43R.

MASSACHUSETTS (11 EVs): Occasionally too much Democratic demographic density benefits Republicans. The legislature is 37D-3R/128D-30R, majorities in the 10-1 to 5-1 range. But they elected a Republican governor (who was not pro-Trump) in 2014 and 2018 for one reason: To keep some check on the Democrats. Likewise in Vermont, where a liberal Republican governor has a 23D-7R/92D-46R legislature, and in Maryland, which is 33 percent African-American, with 32D-15R/99d-42R. An exception is Rhode Island, with a governor (D) and 33D-5R/65D-10R.

PENNSYLVANIA (20 EVs): The Democratic base is in Philadelphia and the west suburbs, where four women (D) won House seats in 2018, and Pittsburgh.

Republicans dominate the working-class cities like Scranton, Erie, Reading, Allentown and the Pittsburgh suburbs. Trump lost in 2020 by 80,555 votes but won by 44,292 in 2016. The breakouts are 9R-9D and 27R-21D/112-90D, not too different from 2009's 12R-7D and 30R-19D/112R-90D. DDD give Republicans opportunity in 2022.

OHIO (18 EVs): Density/woke politics is DOA in this state, with a governor (R) and 12R-4D and 25R-8D/64R-35D breakout. Republicans are the low-tax working class party, dominant in Cincinnati, Dayton, smaller cities, and now in Youngstown and Steubenville, while Democrats are isolated in Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo and Akron. Republicans used their majority to carve out 12 seats and will do it again to make Youngstown a Republican seat, even though one seat was lost in the census; it will be 12R-3D. Trump won by 446,841 in 2016 and by 475,669 in 2020.

INDIANA (11 EVs): It's is like OH, with Democratic density concentrated in Gary and Indianapolis, with Evansville, Muncie, Ft. Wayne, Bloomington, Terre Haute and South Bend now solid Republican. The numbers are 7R-2D, and 39R-11D/71R-29D.

MICHIGAN (16 EVs): The state is in flux, more like PA than OH. Trump won by 10,704 in 2016 and lost by 154,188 in 2020. Detroit has a Black base, but the suburbs and Ann Arbor/Lansing have a woke White base. The numbers are 7R-7D, and 20R-16D/58R-52D. Is MI going left or right?

TEXAS (40 EVs) with 2 new seats): No state is more volatile this cycle, with border crossings, COVID and abortion on the 2022 docket. TX was won by Trump twice, but it is 39 percent Hispanic and 13 percent Black. Woke Whites and minorities are dominant in Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio, and some close-in suburbs are going Blue. Republicans rule elsewhere, especially west Texas, with 23R-13D, and 18R-13D/82R-67D numbers. 2022 will be transformative, as the south Texas Mexican-American population is repulsed by the border crisis, the influx of people from Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala and Ecuador into their country. They trended significantly for Trump in 2020, favor the Wall, and disdain Biden. If they break Republican, TX will stay red for a long time.

FLORIDA (30 EVs, gains one seat): Trump won by 371,686 in 2020, up from 113,091 in 2016. Democrats will have nasty left vs. center primaries in 2022, with the winners facing Ron DeSantis and Marco Rubio. Hispanics are 25 percent, split between Cubans (R) in south Miami and Puerto Ricans (D) around Orlando. Blacks are 17 percent, mainly in Tampa, Tallahassee, Jacksonville and north Miami.

The numbers are 14R-13D, and 24R-16D/78R-42D. This could be, like TX, a Republican blowout year.

Since legislative trends presage state trends, Republicans should be optimistic about 2024.