Today on The BradCast: Where the Presidential race stands as we head into the debates and how an ingenious GOP scheme in 2010 may have served to undermine (small-d) democracy in the U.S. for a decade or more. [Audio link posted below.]
As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump prepare to face off in their first Presidential debate, national polls are now, largely --- and amazingly --- a dead heat, with Trump beginning to take the lead in several key states that would give him the Presidency.
Meanwhile, as Dems struggle to hold on to the White House and fight long and longer odds to regain control of the U.S. Senate, a majority in the U.S. House, once again, remains seemingly out of grasp entirely for Democrats despite their candidates and policies being far more popular amongst the national electorate.
David Daley, until recently the Editor in Chief at Salon, now a Fellow at the University of Georgia's Grady School of Journalism, joins me on today's BradCast to discuss his new book, Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy. In it, Daley documents "Operation REDMAP", the insidious (and brilliant) Republican scheme carried out with a few million dollars and a handful of GOP operatives back in 2010 that succeeded in putting the U.S. House out of reach for Democrats for a decade --- while they were still celebrating their 2008 victory and barely paying attention to what Republicans were up to.
"It is nothing short of the most audacious political heist of our time," Daley tells me. "The Republican State Leadership Committee, they realize that 2008 might have been a wipe-out for the Republicans, but that did not matter if they could win in 2010. Because the census requires that you redraw every district line in every state legislature and in the Congress every ten years they came up with a brand new idea."
That successful idea in 2010 resulted in Democrats receiving 1.4 million more votes than Republicans for their U.S. House candidates in 2012, while still losing control of the chamber to Republicans by 33 seats. "The party completely fell asleep at the wheel," he says, allowing "an overwhelming avalanche of dark money and negative ads, into these small little towns" that would determine control of state legislatures, followed by an unprecedented computer-aided gerrymander of every GOP controlled state in the nation. That, in turn, led to the seemingly uncrackable Republican majority in the House that has served to bastardize so much of our national politics through today.
"The Democrats didn't have the imagination to come up with this idea," Daley argues. "It is entirely legal. However, it is also entirely and deeply undemocratic." The GOP came up with "a partisan hammer to take control and hold it," in what Daley describes as nothing short of a "political moneyball" plan that would "lock in partisan control of a chamber [of Congress] for a decade or more."
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