Interesting argument from Corey Robin today. Unfortunately he’s mostly right about Carter; let’s hope he’s all the way right about the rest. Read the whole thing here.
This does not mean that Republicans or conservatives can’t get elected now. Jimmy Carter got elected in 1976. But his presidency signaled not a resurgence of liberalism but its end: his deregulation was an early warning signal of the morphing of Democratic liberalism into Reaganite neoliberalism; his funding of the Salvadoran regime, building of the MX Missile, and support for the mujahideen in Afghanistan, were the first act of Reagan’s Second Cold War. So will there be elections—perhaps one, maybe more—of Republicans and conservatives that signal not a resurgence of conservatism and the GOP but their end…
When I tried to make some of these points on Facebook last night, a reader thought I was insane. He pointed out that Republicans are today in control of 31 governorships and 30 state legislative chambers; have total control (the “trifecta” of the governorship and both houses of the legislature) of 22 state governments (to the Democrats’ 7); and control both branches of Congress (54-44 in the Senate—it’s really 54-46 because the two independent caucus with the Democrats—and 247-188 in the House). How could I possibly think conservatism or the GOP is not a wildly popular banner under which Trump will march into the White House?
For this simple reason: In 1972, the Democrats were in control of 31 governorships and 23 state legislative chambers (to the GOP’s 16; the rest were split); had total control of 17 state governments (to the GOP’s 9); and controlled both branches of Congress (54-44 in the Senate, 255-180 in the House). Not entirely dissimilar from today, only in the opposite direction. And what happened? The largest landslide in American electoral history. In favor of the Republican candidate.