The State Legislatures: Where Democrats Went to Die

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 3 2010 11:08 AM

The State Legislatures: Where Democrats Went to Die

Erick Erickson spotted this trend early, and it's going to be incredibly important.

The North Carolina Legislature is Republican for the first time since 1870. Yes, that is Eighteen Seventy.

The Alabama Legislature is Republican for the first time since 1876.

For those saying this is nothing because it is the South, consider these:

The entire Wisconsin and New Hampshire legislatures have flipped to the GOP by wide margins.

The State Houses in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Montana, and Colorado flipped to the GOP.

The Maine and Minnesota Senates flipped to the GOP.

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I'm a bear on the effect that redistricting can have for Republicans. They were in a similarly solid position for 2002 redistricting, so Democrats won the majority in 2006 and 2008 on a map that was theoretically built to defeat them. But if you step away from raw politics you now have a majority of states with dedicated anti-spending majorities, who are going to start passing austerity budgets. That's lucky, in a way -- there's no new stimulus money coming, so it's not clear what the Democrats would have done.

The committee tasked with electing Democratic state legislatures isn't even trying to spin this:

In a political environment worse even than that of 1994, our candidates for state legislatures fought tirelessly against the GOP wave that swept the nation this fall. Our candidates and legislative leaders should be proud of their impressive and hard-fought campaigns.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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