The demographics of the suicide caucus and why they won't be voted out
Joyce Park stashed this in Economics
This is the result of decades of gerrymandering: 80 members of the House of Representatives, who live in artfully constructed to be demographically very unrepresentative districts, can bring the entire US government to its knees. Hope the old-line Republican leadership is enjoying what they have wrought!
This is terrifying and also super interesting.
Basically, we are at an impasse of our own construction.
It feels... historical.
Fewer than 15 million people elected 80 people who could potentially destroy our economy:
These eighty members represent just eighteen per cent of the House and just a third of the two hundred and thirty-three House Republicans. They were elected with fourteen and a half million of the hundred and eighteen million votes cast in House elections last November, or twelve per cent of the total. In all, they represent fifty-eight million constituents. That may sound like a lot, but it’s just eighteen per cent of the population.
In all, they represent 58 million constituents. Less than 20% of the American population.
And this is why things are not getting better anytime soon:
In short, these eighty members represent an America where the population is getting whiter, where there are few major cities, where Obama lost the last election in a landslide, and where the Republican Party is becoming more dominant and more popular. Meanwhile, in national politics, each of these trends is actually reversed.
In one sense, these eighty members are acting rationally. They seem to be pushing policies that are representative of what their constituents back home want. But even within the broader Republican Party, they represent a minority view, at least at the level of tactics (almost all Republicans want to defund Obamacare, even if they disagree about using the issue to threaten a government shutdown).
In previous eras, ideologically extreme minorities could be controlled by party leadership. What’s new about the current House of Representatives is that party discipline has broken down on the Republican side. On the most important policy questions, ones that most affect the national brand of the party, Boehner has lost his ability to control his caucus, and an ideological faction, aided by outside interest groups, can now set the national agenda.
Through redistricting, Republicans have built themselves a perhaps unbreakable majority in the House. But it has come at a cost of both party discipline and national popularity. Nowadays, a Sunday-school teacher can defeat the will of the Speaker of the House.
Even within the Republican Party they represent the minority view.
It's not that the Republican Party has lost leadership.
It's that the Republican Party isn't a party at all.
We won't have real progress for actual people until one or both parties shatter (preferably both). Let them fight until they do.
How long will it take for the parties to shatter?
At this point couldn't the government stay shut down indefinitely?