Bright Prospects in a Dark Age
April 17, 2013
In National Journal this week, Cook says Republicans have stronger prospects than Democrats in next year’s U.S. House races. Since his predictions usually come pretty close to reality, this is especially interesting right now, with the Obama White House dedicating maximum effort to flipping the House.
1) Cook’s analysis dismisses the argument raised by so-called good-government advocates whose prescriptions always seem to bring about a turn to the Left. The promotion of legislative redistricting done by purportedly non-partisan experts instead of elected lawmakers, runs afoul of Cook’s finding that congressional districts initially acquire their partisan identities not through gerrymandering, but because like-minded people congregate together.
2) No one with their wits about them—on the Left or the Right—can doubt the next few years will determine for a very long time what kind of country this is. The Republican House majority has been the last reliable line of defense for constitutional government. Cook’s analysis suggests there’s no excuse for timidity in that role.
3) Cook says one reason ticket-splitting has declined is that “As local print-news readership has declined precipitously in the Internet age, fewer voters are gaining exposure to individual candidates’ backgrounds and qualifications.” We disagree. For as long as we can remember, media coverage of congressional and state legislative campaigns has offered voters little except shallow accusations when it offers anything at all. A far likelier explanation is that voters on both sides of the partisan chasm realize every election is for all the marbles and act accordingly.
But all in all, an informative read from a serious pro.