In some states voters have been “purged” from the rolls in overzealous clean-up efforts. Other states demand ever more documentary proof that people are eligible to vote. Well-off homeowners who drive cars and have passports barely notice such hurdles. But young, poor and ethnic-minority voters are more likely to crash into them. Often, this is not just an unfortunate side-effect of tighter voting rules; it is their intent.
The American left risks making the same mistake as the far right in blaming its political failures on the alleged impurity of its leaders.
The defeat of establishment-backed Democrats in New York and Massachusetts at the hands of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, respectively, is giving the left hope that America is finally ready for social democracy.
They wants Democrats to campaign on debt-free college education, Medicare-for-all, abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and impeaching President Donald Trump.
They are appalled that Nancy Pelosi has promised to restore pay-as-you-go budgeting in a Democratic Congress — requiring spending cuts or tax increases to pay for new policies — fearing this will make overhauls of education, environmental law and health care impossible.
Ronald Brownstein reports for CNN that the congressional elections in November are likely to deepen the divide between “blue” and “red” America:
Democrats seem likely to emerge … with a clear upper hand in highly urbanized House seats that are racially and religiously diverse, disproportionately white-collar and secular and connected to the globalized information economy. Republicans, in turn, could remain dominant in districts outside of urban centers that are preponderantly white, heavily blue-collar, more religiously traditional and reliant on manufacturing, agriculture and resource extraction.
We’re now six states in and if there’s any sign that Democrats are either plagued by a dysfunctional overreaction to Trump or are having real difficulties handling the surge in new candidates, I’m not really seeing it.
The conventional wisdom in the United States is that Democrats are likely to take control of the House of Representatives in November while Republicans are likely to defend their majority in the Senate.
How good are Democrats’ chances for the midterm elections in November? Jonathan Bernstein argues in Bloomberg View that it’s too soon to tell, but that the party’s early advantages, in terms of candidates, money and volunteer commitments, could make the difference.
We like to think of voters as the key players in elections, write Bernstein. However, “voters are strongly influenced by the choices of others within the political system and by the general electoral context.”
This is where the “party decides” theory comes in: party elites (including activists who probably don’t think of themselves as “elite”) actively shape the choices voters get.
Voters may not consider themselves partisans, but they tend to vote for a party — and the same party — rather than the candidate.
The president’s job approval and the state of the economy play a huge role as well. There are political scientist who argue these factors alone determine the outcome.