If Hillary wins by 8 points and the Democrats take the Senate, that will be great because it means Democrats are likely to establish a long-term majority in the Supreme Court. But to think that the victory will be seen as a mandate or that Republicans will pivot to the center is just stupid:
I don’t think even a massive landslide would crush Trumpism. Goldwaterism didn’t go away after 1964 — it morphed into Wallaceism and, more significantly, the GOP’s Southern strategy. David Duke lost badly when he ran for governor of Louisiana in 1991, but the GOP continued to appeal to its voter base with Duke’s message translated into dog whistles; shortly after that Duke loss, a Louisiana politician named Steve Scalise declared himself “David Duke without the baggage.” He’s now the House majority whip.
In fact, we’ll be told that Democrats have to move farther to the right to become a true majority party. Sure, Ryan Lizza is especially bad but expect a lot of this:
What if Hillary offered Republicans one SCOTUS pick? Would that open the floodgates for skeptical Republicans to rescind support for Trump?
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) August 2, 2016
I like magical thinking, but the truth is the super-majority coalition never develops, the meteor never hits, the levee never breaks. Hillary wins, most likely, then Trump challenges the results in a half-ass way, Ryan and the rest of the conservative Beltway nobility support his challenge in a half-ass way, while still being hailed as serious moderate thinkers, and then we get back to dealing with filibusters and the usual bullshit.
I don’t mean this to sound pessimistic. To the contrary, it all makes me glad we have a president like Obama and a candidate like Hillary. Because it’s all a tough slog, not an episode of West Wing or a documentary about the Roosevelts.
Update. I shouldn’t say “never”, just not soon. A few more generations of kids voting Democratic 20+ over Republicans (and voting democratic socialist +60 over neoliberal in primaries), and, yes, the levee breaks.