It’s been too long since we kicked off a new Open Thread, so here we go.
Since 1984, turnout in presidential elections has ranged from 49 to 57 percent of eligible adults; since 1986, turnout in midterms has ranged from 36 to 39 percent. What does that mean for US politics and policy? Basically this: Legislative and Congressional districts are, in most states, drawn by the state legislature.
When the state legislatures which do the drawing are elected in mid-term elections, they tend to be more conservative (which, today, means more Republican) than when they are elected during Presidential election years. And 2020 is a Presidential election year –- with the state legislators elected that year doing the drawing which will be in effect for the next decade.
For the past couple of decades, the Democratic Presidential candidate has regularly managed to pick up more popular votes than the Republican candidate. And demographic trends, combined with the current direction of the Republican Party, suggest that 2020 will see that trend continue.
As a result, we will likely see more state legislatures with Democratic majorities doing the next round of redistricting. Which, in turn, almost certainly means more Democrats elected to Congress. Maybe even to the point where the House majority changes hands.
So if you are a die-hard conservative (i.e. more fanatical than almost any of us here), you basically have 5 years to get as much of what you want as possible. And getting that means compromising your principles in order to get half a loaf on various issues, rather than deciding that it is more important to maintain absolute purity than to make US law even somewhat more conservative. After that, no matter how hard you wish and believe, your chances drop significantly.