Some Republicans are taking their election-day victory a little too seriously. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), who is also the chairman of the Republican National Congressional Committee, thinks that this could be the start of a 100-year Republican majority in the House, according to an article on MSNBC. At least he didn’t say a permanent majority, as others have done when Republicans have had huge Congressional wins. Still. Thinking they’ll be in power from now until 2114 is a little ridiculous, and quite a bit more arrogant.
This is the biggest Republican majority the House has seen since Truman was in office, so of course, the GOP is pleased. Given how our electoral system works, however, given how irritated people are with Congress in general, claiming a majority for such a long time only sets them up for horrible disappointment in the relatively near future, not to mention the disappointment the people who believe Walden’s tripe will feel.
Claiming “permanent Republican majority,” sadly, isn’t new.
MSNBC didn’t just talk about Walden’s dreams of a 100-year Republican majority. They talked about the last several times Republicans have gotten some type of Congressional majority. In 1994, for instance, Phil Gramm (R-TX) crowed about their victory, claiming a permanent GOP majority. He saw their election as some type of massive realignment of the parties that went heavily in favor of Republicans. Of course, he was wrong.
So was Karl Rove in 2001, when he claimed that George W. Bush’s election to the White House could usher in a permanent Republican majority. Rove was just as much an idiot then as he is now, and this, too, was less than permanent.
Then there was Tom DeLay, who saw 2004 as the year the Republicans would actually become a permanent majority. So what happened four years later? People, sick to death of Republicans, voted in a Democratic president, and a Democratic Congress with a supermajority in the Senate.
So much for “permanent Republican majority.”
Of course, the gerrymandering that happened in traditionally blue states after the 2010 census helped them out. Republicans have created such super-safe, hyper-partisan districts that some actually bragged that’s what led to their House majority in 2012, according to Think Progress.
Democrats do it too, but in different ways.
The GOP isn’t too dreadfully alone with this, though. Democrats and liberals have argued that shifting demographics in the U.S. mean that they’re increasingly likely to have Congressional majorities in each election. The Nation has an in-depth piece about demographic shifts and Democratic arrogance about that. Instead of outright saying, “permanent Democratic majority,” however, they tend to dance around that term with other terms. They also think that they’re so safe they can try to push legislation that the populace isn’t willing to accept. That helps make people elect Republicans two to four years later.
In other words, this is one area where both parties are very similar. They get overconfident and arrogant when they win big, and that leads to losses later on. Using their power to play politics instead of actually getting things done that improve the lives of average Americans, and help everyone to prosper, inevitably leads to their downfall.
The people will tire of the GOP sometime within the next four to six years, and possibly as soon as 2016. Walden, and others, would be well advised to remember that these things are cyclical. They would also be well advised to actually try and govern, instead of gloating about the new, permanent Republican majority and playing politics for the next two years.