Now that the election results have (mostly) sunk in and the landfills receive the best parts of thousands of watch parties, it's time to speculate about the things to come.

Out here in Dustbury, we're faced with an interesting sort of dilemma. The last Democratic Congressman in Oklahoma declined to run for re-election, and the GOP now controls the state's six seats in the House, a situation not likely to change in 1998 unless the Democrats come up with some worthier candidates than this last batch. The real question, though, is 2000. Even if the Republicans sweep once again, the state's relatively slow population growth means that one of those House seats will be taken away after the census. The legislature, by law, will have to do the redistricting, and the Democrats aren't likely to lose control of either state house between now and 2002, when the numbers should be official. Not even the GOP floodtides of 1994 and 1996 combined could make any more than a slight dent in Democratic control of the Oklahoma legislature, and there's very little reason to think 1998 or 2000 or even 2002 will be any different; entrenched incumbents are entrenched incumbents, regardless of party label. So the Democrats will get the amusing duty of drawing one of the Republicans out of a job. It would be well for those Democrats to remember, though, that after the 1990 census, they gerrymandered the state to a fare-the-well, trying to isolate all the state's Republican voters within two districts, in the mistaken belief that they could always hold on to the four other seats. The harvest from that particular whirlwind descended upon the Democrats in 1994, when the 4-2 split they expected turned suddenly to 1-5, and this year, when they could mount only sacrificial lambs against the egregious boobs Steve Largent and Ernest Istook, GOP frosh in those very same artificial districts. It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of hack politicians.

On the national level, everybody got something, and nobody got everything, which is my idea of democracy in action. The Democrats get to keep the White House; the GOP picked up a seat or two in the Senate, lost a few in the House, but still controls Congress; Ross Perot's Reform Party will survive for another four years. Even the Christian Coalition, to whom many of the GOP sophomores owe their political existence, had something to crow about, though I've got to wonder if Ralph Reed and company have peaked — if they really do control about thirty-five percent of the electorate, as has been claimed from time to time by pundits on both sides of the fence, and Bob Dole still got only forty percent of the popular vote, this tells me that three out of five people will vote against anyone carrying the Coalition's endorsement. I guess the next step is for me to try to meet those other two.

The Vent

#28
9 November 1996

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 Copyright © 1996 by Charles G. Hill