The case of the house is illuminating. Thanks to widespread GOP gerrymandering, Republicans nearly recaptured the lower chamber last year, and might have done so had the Democrats not filed successful lawsuits in the past decade that resulted in new cards in Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania Virginia would have led. But it could only be temporary reparation: thanks to a strong performance at the legal level, it is the Republicans ready to dominate redistribution across the country just like the GOP hardliners of the Supreme Court threaten turbocharger gerrymandering.
The Senate poses a different problem. As our newly released data shows, Democratic senators collectively won more votes and represented more Americans than Republicans Uninterrupted since 2000, but have only operated the chamber half the time since then. If the Senate Republicans had won just over 1,000 more votes in New Hampshire in 2016, the GOP minority rule would have continued into 2020 despite Democratic Senators representing tens of millions more voters. Of course there is also the electoral college: a postponement of Only 40,000 votes in three major swing states Trump could have won the presidency again last year despite a second loss of popular votes.
The Republican minority rule is not just a threat to our elected offices. It is already a reality in the US Supreme Court where five Conservative justices were confirmed by Senate in which the Republican majority won fewer votes and represented fewer people than the Democratic minority. Three of these judges were also appointed by a president who lost the referendum.
And that’s before we even get to the unprecedented attacks by Republican extremists on democracy in January. These included the far-right insurrection, which saw a violent mob ransacking the Capitol, leaving several dead behind, nearly killing elected officials, and leading to Trump’s impeachment for the second time after he and his allies in Congress incited violence from lies about Tell electoral fraud and stolen elections.
Nevertheless violent coup attempt, two-thirds of the House’s Republicans and several prominent GOP senators only hours later that day, voted to reject the results of the electoral college hoping to steal the election for Trump. Our democracy has been increasingly besieged by the far right for years, but these attempts to overthrow it through both mob violence and Congressional action mark the lowest ebb in American civil health since the Civil War.
However, we can reverse this decline by adopting the reforms before Congress. But to get them passed would require unanimous support from Senate Democrats and a newfound willingness to curtail the filibuster in the face of certain Republican obstacles. If democrats fail to seize their fleeting opportunity to pass transformational reforms on to our democratic institutions and protect the right to vote, our democracy may not survive much longer.
Failure to act could result in Republicans regaining a gerrymandered majority in the House of Representatives in 2022 and another majority in the Senate next year, despite again failing to win more votes or represent more Americans than Democrats. A Republican-led Congress could even seek to overthrow democracy for good in 2024 by rejecting the Electoral College result, as Trump and his many allies tried last month.
Democratic reform must be high on the agenda this year because the future of our political system – and every other political effort – depends on it.