Not only do Republicans control Congress, they control an overwhelming majority of state legislatures as well, include 100% control (legislative and executive) of 24 states. In a very meaningful way, the gridlock in DC is no longer the battlefield, the states are.
That battle is all but over in 2015, and the red states have won.
The unprecedented breadth of the Republican majority — the party now controls 31 governorships and 68 of 98 partisan legislative chambers — all but guarantees a new tide of conservative laws. Republicans plan to launch a fresh assault on the Common Core education standards, press abortion regulations, cut personal and corporate income taxes and take up dozens of measures challenging the power of labor unions and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Before Election Day, the GOP controlled 59 partisan legislative chambers across the country. The increase to 68 gives Republicans six more chambers than their previous record in the modern era, set after special elections in 2011 and 2012.
Republicans also reduced the number of states where Democrats control both the governor’s office and the legislatures from 13 to seven.
Democrats have all but ceded the states to the GOP. Democratic voters certainly don't care anymore. So look for the Kansas model to become the new normal.
A new round of the culture wars is also inevitable in 2015. Mallory Quigley, a spokeswoman for the antiabortion Susan B. Anthony List, said she expects that measures to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy will advance in Wisconsin, South Carolina and West Virginia. Missouri, too, is likely to take up some abortion-related bills.
In Tennessee, voters gave the legislature new powers to regulate abortion, and state House Speaker Beth Harwell (R) has said her chamber will take up three measures requiring mandatory counseling, a waiting period and stricter inspections of clinics.
Conservative activists also are targeting Common Core, the national education standards adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia over the past few years. Opposition from parent and community groups has become a hot political issue on the right over the past year, leading three states — Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina — to drop out of the program.
Some states will attempt to join those three in leaving the program altogether. Others will try to change testing requirements or prevent the sharing of education data with federal officials. In recent interviews, several Republican governors who support Common Core say they expect debate in their forthcoming legislative sessions.
“The biggest concern and opposition you hear from conservative legislators is, ‘We don’t want Washington dictating curricula,’ ” said Utah state Sen. Curtis Bramble, a Republican.
Obama is the only person standing between the barbarians and the gate. And we only have two years of him left. After that, if we lose in 2016, it's going to be a long, brutal slog.
Maybe we should do something about that.