Dems Continue Death Spiral With New Low in State Legislatures

Feel-good story of the day.

America elected Donald Trump as its next president. Republicans control the U.S. House and the Senate. But according to liberals who are still in denial, it's not a "mandate," right? 

Well, consider that on top of Democrats' crushing defeats on Election Night, Republicans now boast over 1,000 more seats than Democrats in State legislatures. The Hill reports: 

The Democratic Party will hit a new nadir in state legislative seats after suffering more losses in November’s elections, highlighting the devastation up and down the party across the nation.

Republicans will control 4,170 state legislative seats after last week’s elections, while Democrats will control 3,129 seats in the nation’s 98 partisan legislative chambers. Republicans picked up a net gain of 46 seats in Tuesday’s elections, while Democrats lost 46 seats, according to the latest vote counts from The Associated Press.

Independents and members of minor parties hold 71 seats, including the entire Nebraska Senate, which is nonpartisan. Nearly two weeks after Election Day, about a dozen seats remain too close to call.

“Republicans have been working for this moment for years, to have a federal government with Republican majorities and now at the state level,” said David Avella, who heads GOPAC, a group that grooms young legislative candidates. “We have to deliver on breaking down barriers to job creation, we have to deliver on putting more money in people’s pockets through tax cuts and through higher wages.”

The results cement a dubious legacy of Republican gains in state legislatures during President Obama’s tenure. Republicans gained more than 700 seats in the 2010 midterm elections and nearly 300 in the 2014 midterms as Obama’s approval ratings suffered. Democrats clawed back more than 100 seats in 2012, when Obama won reelection.

This means that Republicans now control nearly 1,000 more legislative seats than when Obama took office. The Hill reports that Republican "share of state legislative seats has grown from just under 44 percent in 2009 to 56 percent after Tuesday’s election" and that, after the latest losses, Democrats hold only 42 percent of legislative seats across the country. 

"We’re investing the time to fully evaluate the successes and challenges of this cycle for application to 2017 and 2018, while also getting an early jump on recruiting, campaign staff hiring and training, and other important infrastructure items," Carolyn Fiddler, spokeswoman for Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, said in response. 

The Hill notes, however, that Democrats have to make "serious gains in many deep red states before it competes for majorities across the country once again."

When the new year dawns, Republicans will control both chambers of the state legislature and governorships in 24 states. Democrats will hold total control in only five states — Hawaii, California, Oregon, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

State legislatures matter not only because of the laws they can enact, but because of their influence over the redistricting process every ten years. Massive Democratic losses in the 2010 midterms gave Republicans the opportunity to draw congressional district maps in many states before the 2012 elections, effectively locking in a Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

"In state after state, we were able to increase our majorities, which puts us in stronger positions as 2020 rolls around and maps get redrawn," Avella said.