The worst and best news you’ve heard all week that does not directly involve Donald Trump
For a moment, let’s set aside everything Donald Trump is trying to do to make sure the GOP eventually loses the Latino vote the way it has lost African-American vote for the last half a century and focus on the most important issue of our time — or at least of the next two years.
And let’s start with some terrible news about the 2018 elections.
We got our first preview of Democrats’ chances of winning the House of Representatives and it’s kind of a nightmare. Even though Democrats are projected to win 54 percent of the vote, they’d end up with on 47 percent of the seats, according Elliott Morris’s model for Decision Desk HQ.
This means Paul Ryan would remain Speaker of the House and Donald Trump’s lawless grifting will likely go unchecked through 2020.
Here’s a look at the numbers in Michigan specifically:
This is all kinds of depressing. The best shot of a pickup in the state is in the 11th where Dave Trott still has an over a 60 percent chance of holding his seat. And this is even before you start factoring in things like the coming wave of voter suppression being engineered by the Trump Administration multiplied by Republicans other advantages when it comes to money, media and political machinery.
Democrats tend to live near each other because they tend to live in population centers and there are just more Democratic voters. But there’s no doubt that gerrymandering is playing a huge role when Republicans can easily lose the popular vote in a state and still expect to win 64 percent of the state’s congressional seats.
The 2018 election is crucial not only to put a hedge on Trump but also to do our best to make sure the next decade doesn’t resemble the last two.
Here we get to the better news, as explained by Daily Kos Elections‘ Stephen Wolf:
If 2018 follows the pattern of the last three midterm elections and unfolds as a backlash to the incumbent president’s party, Democrats could make major gubernatorial gains and be well-positioned to block many future Republican gerrymanders, giving them a fighting chance to win more seats in legislatures and in Congress in the coming decade.
We have tremendous opportunities in 2018 because of Trump’s broken promises and the horrendous votes our Republicans have now taken. We now longer have to speculate that Tim Walberg and Fred Upton would vote to kick seniors out of nursing homes to give rich guys tax breaks, because that’s what’s in the Trumpcare bill they backed. And the entire delegation is about to back more tax breaks for the rich that would essentially sign the death warrants on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as we know them.
None of this is theoretical any more. We know that the GOP governs exclusively for bankers, polluters and bigots because that’s exactly who is in power and who is benefiting from GOP’s policies.
We just need to get that message out, which leads to the really good news.
The Service Employees International Union, one of the largest and wealthiest unions in the United States with roughly 2 million members, will fund an extensive campaign over the next 14 months to elect politicians with labor-friendly stands on the minimum wage, unions and health care.
The effort will primarily aim at the traditionally industrial states of the Midwest and Rust Belt, where labor’s political influence has come under a furious assault from conservative forces in recent decades, culminating in President Trump’s electoral sweep of the traditionally Democratic states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
What will this look like?
The key to the union’s program for 2018, Mr. Courtney added, will be to expand the universe of voters who turn out on Election Day.
The S.E.I.U. conducted a pilot project during the 2016 campaign in which it canvassed groups of voters largely in two heavily African-American wards of Detroit using a small-scale version of the campaign it plans for the year ahead.
Over all, about 62 percent of voters the union talked to during the pilot project cast ballots in the presidential election, versus turnout of about 38 percent of voters who it did not talk to, according to data provided by the union.
Applying the same percentage to all of Detroit’s voters would have produced about 40,000 more total votes in 2016, an amount that would have almost certainly secured the state for Mrs. Clinton.
This isn’t enough to wipe away all the horrendous news we face, but it’s a fine start.