A nation still divided
Nevada, like most of the nation, voted red Republican in every rural county. Only urban Washoe and Clark counties voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton. Similarly, Question 1—gun background checks—passed with 56 percent in Clark County, and failed in every other county, including Washoe. Las Vegas carried the initiative over the rest of the State. Question 2—marijuana legalization—passed in Clark and Washoe counties, and also in libertarian leaning Nye and Storey counties. The rest of conservative rural Nevada voted no on pot.
This narrative is the same for the nation. From San Diego to Seattle, the urban West Coast voted Democratic. The Amtrak corridor from Boston to Washington DC also voted blue. Other urban areas like Chicago, Southeast Florida, Detroit, Houston and Atlanta went blue, but the urban turnout was lower than in 2008 and 2012, so less densely populated but very red rural flyover country carried the day.
Because the Democrats won the popular vote, calls to abolish the Electoral College election system were once again heard. But the United States is not a democracy. It is a constitutional commercial republic, some of whose officials are elected through the democratic process. The Electoral College may be one of those outdated 18th century institutions, like the Constitution, that liberals feel should be replaced, but it has served us well. If it wasn’t for the Electoral College, small states like Nevada would have even less power than now. Looking at the electoral map, is it really democratic that such a small albeit densely populated geographical area, confined primarily to the coastlines, should determine the outcome of elections?
Besides, if the popular vote ruled, then conservatives in blue states would have had more incentive to vote, and who knows if the popular vote result would have been the same?
Although Nevada was engulfed in a blue wave, the rest of the political system was swallowed in an ongoing, deep, red tide. Republicans have flipped over 1,000 Democratic state government seats since the Tea Party backlash against Obamacare in 2010. Republican control of the House of Representatives meant the 2010 census-related redistricting solidified this power. Republican state control in turn solidifies the Republican control of the House. If the Republicans fail spectacularly, and the Democrats manage to find their way out of their self-imposed ideological wilderness, a 2020 Democratic victory would give them the opportunity to redistrict. I wouldn’t bet the House—pun intended—on that happening.
If Republicans manage to flip a few more states red, the ultimate power could be theirs—the power to amend the Constitution. Constitutional amendments are rare because they require a two thirds vote of both Congressional houses and a three fourths ratification by the states. The Republicans would need full control of 38 states, while they now control 33. Unlikely, but the mere fact that we can talk about this shows how far the Democrats have fallen since 2010, when Republicans only controlled 14 States.
If Democrats are to regain power, they need to concentrate much more on state races and rebuild their farm team to have strong candidates for President and Congress.
In order to do that, they will have to abandon cultural Marxism and come up with a better strategy to win voter approval. The party that is out of power often rediscovers its classical liberal roots and wants to limit government power. The party in power often overreaches and abuses its power. This dynamic could give rise to a “liberaltarian” movement in the blue tribe. If so, those of us who are consistently libertarian will welcome our wayward children back into the fold.