Joseph O’Neill in the New York Review of Books:
In the realm of state government, the Republican Party is wiping the floor with the Democrats. The 2016 elections are remembered for the presidential race, but they also gave the GOP control of sixty-eight state legislative chambers to the Democrats’ thirty-one. Amazingly, the lives of almost half of the national population came under the sway of a Republican trifecta—that is, a state government with all three branches controlled by the GOP. Even after the 2018 Blue Wave, the score was 61–37, Republican to Democrat.
What’s salient here is that Republican dominance represents an extraordinary political overperformance. Republican state governments strongly align themselves with the national party leadership—and by conventional measures, and certainly by comparison with the Clinton and Obama administrations, the national GOP has long been a disaster. Every Republican administration from Reagan onward has crashed the economy and exploded deficits. (Trump has already achieved the latter.) Their track record on health care is one of failure. Their handling of national security has been catastrophic (see the September 11 attacks, the rise of ISIS, Trump-Russia, climate change). Their criminality and corruption is scandalous: fraud, perjury, bribery, Boland Amendment violations during the Iran–contra affair, obstruction of justice, tax evasion, theft, and misuse of public funds are just some of the crimes committed by Republican administration officials and operatives—and that’s without counting those chalked up under Nixon and Trump.