A permanent Democratic majority
Armstrong Williams | 10/25/2018, 12:28 p.m.
We are officially less than a month away from some pretty historic elections that I believe will fundamentally alter the political landscape of this Congress and the country for the next 8 to 10 years. Yes, the campaign season for all 435 House of Representatives seats is well underway, and the fights are heated and brutish. The same holds true for one-third of the U.S. Senate. In fact, early absentee voting has already begun in several states. Already in these congressional districts, candidates are working hard to land political haymakers in attempts to knock their opponents out.
Only a handful of pollsters and pundits believe that Republicans can retain majorities in both chambers. Even fewer believe the House will remain red and Republican. I believe that dynamic is shifting, even as I write this column. And it’s all because of the recent developments surrounding Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his confirmation. That entire episode was particularly nasty and struck the country in a way we have not seen since the days of Justice Clarence Thomas.
I think in many respects it will backfire on the left, and vulnerable Senate Democrats who voted against Kavanaugh will have to answer to the voters. That one vote can cost them their seats. Likewise, the Kavanaugh vote could stir Republicans in states such as Texas to hit the polls and send Sen. Cruz back to Washington and have surprise victories in pivotal states.
But let’s assume that Democrats sweep the House table come Election Day. What then? What steps will the party take strategically to seal this majority lock for generations to come—dare I say, a permanent majority?
I remember the days of Republican House Whip Tom DeLay. “The Hammer”—as he was affectionately called—would publicly dream of a permanent Republican majority. And he would use that vivid picture to encourage his rank-and-file to toe party lines and unite behind macro issues that were both populist and popular. Alas, of course, that did not occur, and Republicans would go on a few short years later to lose their grip on power. Yet the notion of a “permanent majority” in any chamber can often be used in powerful ways to incentivize and motivate.
So what will Nancy Pelosi and her leadership put on the table to help her rank-and-file envision their own permanent majority? If they are smart, they will adopt the following four policies:
Launch a national infrastructure program. That is as American as apple pie and state fairs. Americans love to build things. And many on both sides of the spectrum will say our nation is in desperate need of overhaul of the nation’s bridges, highways, ports, etc. If Democrats play their cards right, they can even enlist dozens of Republicans from key pockets of the country, perhaps even the president himself. There was a lot of talk on the 2016 presidential trail of rebuilding America, but that hasn’t happened. And a Democratic majority can come into power ready to enact such a large and visible public works project.