I thought I would take a look at the two political parties independent of all the presidential silliness. First, let’s examine this year’s congressional races. I expect the Republicans to hang on to the House. The districts are so gerrymandered that the vast majority of seats are safe for one party or the other. The Senate is more interesting. Republicans must defend five seats in states that Obama won in 2012 plus find a replacement for Marco Rubio in Florida. If Trump or Cruz heads the ticket, I expect them to lose the Senate. If Kasich or someone like him is nominated, we will have a real dogfight.
Longer term both parties face serious challenges. Republicans are particularly vulnerable. The current Electoral College map strongly favors the Democrats. The only reason they have a chance this year is that Hillary Clinton is a terrible candidate. They face a tremendous demographic challenge. Their core constituency of older white males will make up a smaller percentage of the population. By 2050 minorities make up a majority of the population. This is already the case in Texas. The Trump candidacy undermines efforts to expand the base.
The Democrats also have a real problem; lack of leadership. Hillary Clinton is 68 and Bernie Sanders is 74. Both Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are 76. Barack Obama and the Clintons have sucked up all the oxygen for the last quarter century and have done little to build up the bench. Quick, name a future leader. The only name I could come up with is Elizabeth Warren. She is 66.
Most Americans are somewhere between moderately liberal to moderately conservative. However, both parties have ignored them as they head to the extreme. They are making promises that can never possibly be enacted into law. I doubt John F. Kennedy could win a Democratic primary in Massachusetts today or that either Bush could get the presidential nomination.
Both Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan established a path for their party that lasted into the next generation. In the next twenty years I think we will see someone set a centrist course emphasizing inclusion and cooperation. It is entirely possible they will be neither a Democrat nor a Republican.