2016 is the "Return of the Jedi" of US elections

According to Harry Enton at fivethirtyeight.com, US men are treating 2016 as 'just another election'. Women, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone following events, are taking it far more seriously.

It is incredible to me that anyone isn't taking this election seriously, and not just because of Donald Trump. This is the Return of the Jedi election. If the Democrats win, especially if they make big gains in Congress, it will be the equivalent of blowing up the second Death Star at the end of Star Wars VI. The Republican party may not ever regain power in anything resembling its current form.

The GOP, as evidenced by the 2008 and 2012 elections, were already having a hard time in presidential elections. Because of changing attitudes and demographics each election has been more difficult from them from the last and the rise of Trump has made it very difficult for them to ever change that.

According to the GOPs own analysis, a Republican candidate for president needs 64 percent of the white vote and 30 percent of the total non-white vote to win the white house. Additionally, these calculations were made after the 2012 election and, year after year, the importance non-white vote increases slightly. Because of the Republican's focus on older voters, they are also losing about half-a-million votes per election cycle as their base literally dies off.

This year, Trump has done Democrats the favour of solidifying the most deplorable factions of the Republican coalition, while further alienating women, people of colour and younger voters.

After a Democratic win in November a badly divided and publicly disgraced Republican party would have four years to figure out how to re-unite and add substantially to the party's base without losing its current supporters. For conservatives the math is difficult to impossible. Changing the party's traditional positions on health care, immigration, affirmative action, abortion, LGBT equality, equal pay for women and minorities, funding the welfare state, or the US role in the Middle East for example could increase interest in the Republicans among new blocks of voters. However, doing any of these things would cost them a substantial part of their existing base.

If Republicans lose in 2020 as well, they will have another 4 years to try to find a path but it will not be any easier and by then they will be fighting in a very different landscape.

Democratic control until 2024 would likely mean (off the top of my head):

  • Liberal control of the supreme court for several decades, abortion rights would be protected and citizens united will be overturned. 
  • Obamacare (hopefully with some fixes) will be an entrenched - The longer people have health care the more like an entitlement it feels and the more difficult it is to take it away. 
  • As mentioned above, another million hard-core republicans will have been lost to old age and the percentage of the vote represented by non-white Americans will be higher (potentially much higher if the Democrats pass immigration reform). 
  • The much-discussed takeover of jobs by robotics and AI will be in full swing and making daily headlines leading to widespread demand greater economic equality, social welfare and education programs. 
  • Increasing flooding, drought and severe weather will lead to increased calls for serious action on climate change, domestically and internationally. 
It is in this environment that Republicans will be trying to manufacture an improved coalition for 2024 and beyond - with the old coalition of xenophobes, white supremacists, homophobes and social conservatives, spurred on by Trump TV and Fox News and acting as a continual drag on the party. 

In 2016 there definitely is a difference between the two parties, the third parties are definitely not offering a better deal and it is, above all, an election to be taken very seriously. I firmly believe that if the Trump Death Star is destroyed in November that the Republican party will fall, never to truly rise again in its present form. Issues that have divided the United States for decades, or in some cases more than a century, will be settled in the public mind and the US will finally be able to move forward in a meaningful way.

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