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Prediction: If Team Obama doesn't screw up badly, the nation will be mainly Democratic for the next decade if not far longer.

As of now, only five states nationwide are solidly GOP, and those states (AK, ID, NE, UT, WY) account for only 20 electoral votes. Granted that this snapshot is valid only for two minutes and that polls tighten before most elections, but it's almost shocking how far the nation is jolted in the last year. Thus, assuming that the 2009 and 2010 elections continue to have Democrats in charge of at least one of the two houses of the respective state legislatures (other than NE, which has a unicameral legislature), congressional redistricting in 2010-2011 will yield solid Democratic majorities for many years to come because only Republican gerrymandering in 2000-2001 kept vast swaths of the Midwest and South from going solid blue. But GOP gerrymandering couldn't hold back the flood of demographic trends and Bush's shittacular presidency, so now the GOP is out and likely to stay out for a long time.

If Team Obama doesn't screw up badly. Which it might: if Obama's desire for post-partisanship and corresponding empowerment of the dwindling GOP minority in Congress leads to no bailout bill or an insufficient bailout bill, Democrats will learn that the GOP leadership, in its current form, simply cannot be worked with. Some GOP consultants may want that result for 2010 "contrast" purposes (viz., "clean hands"), but the success of that strategy will depend on how bad the economy gets and who gets blamed for it. At this rate, Obama is banking that the GOP will be blamed, and thus the GOP is playing into Obama's hands.

I'm not so sure that Obama's superstar coolness can overcome real economic deprivation as it spreads across the country, as it will. I spoke to a colleague at US Treasury over the weekend, who is predicting pockets of 15-20% unemployment in places that lack sufficient social safety net to catch people when they fall. I can predict that a successful bailout will solidify Democratic gains, but I can't predict how hungry and hurt people will lash out at their government if it fails them. Let's hope, for everyone's sake, that it doesn't.

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samtheeagle

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