(CNN)The party is in rapture. It’s on the verge of controlling the White House, the House and the Senate. After eight years of misery, it will inaugurate a new president who has realigned the electorate. Dominance seems assured. Despite the chilly January temperatures, there’s not a cloud in the political skies on that brisk Inauguration Day.
The Republicans in 2017?
Third, most Democrats, including President Obama, now acknowledge the policy crises that consumed us in 2008 the financial meltdown, an auto industry hurtling towards bankruptcy, high unemployment catastrophically distracted us from what was happening in governors’ races and state legislatures across America.
Republican operatives shrugged their shoulders at losing the White House and Congress and muscled their way to local victories in 2010. By defeating six Democratic governors and turning 11 state legislatures, they took control of congressional redistricting and built what they thought was a firewall to protect Republican House seats for a decade.
But that wall is weaker now than it was, even two years ago. Democrats need only 25 seats to take back the majority in the House. There are 21 districts represented by Republicans that Trump lost. Republican overreach will put those districts in jeopardy and expand the playing field for Democrats in the House this cycle.
Third, Republicans craftily built a narrative that a Democratic majority without checks and balances was just going too far, too fast. They branded Obamacare and executive orders as an abuse of power (this, despite the fact that Ronald Reagan issued 381 to Obama’s 266 as of the end of December). That same narrative will be told and retold when Washington Republicans double down on their desire to deny expanded overtime pay to workers, privatize Medicare, and be forced to take away some of the popular consumer benefits of Obamacare.
So, be cautious, my Republican friends. On Inauguration Day, you’ll celebrate the dearth of Democrats in Washington. But they’re around. Schooled by their own fate, they’re organizing and mobilizing outside of the Beltway. The Democratic Governors Association is embarking on a state-of-the-art, in-depth research and mobilization effort to win back middle-class voters (full disclosure, I’m an adviser to that effort). Former Attorney General Eric Holder is heading up the National Democratic Redistricting Committee to win state and local campaigns in overlapping competitive House, Senate and governors’ races and regain control of the 2022 redistricting cycle.
As Republicans pop champagne bottles this Inauguration Day, they should think back only 10 years and understand: The bubbles fall flat, and fast.