The Democratic Party Has Atrophied And Basically Ceased To Exist In Oklahoma-- And Not JUST Oklahoma
How red is Oklahoma. Really, really, really red. Oklahoma has 8 statewide constitutional officers-- governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state treasurer, superintendent of public instruction, insurance commissioner, state auditor and labor commissioner-- as well as 3 members of the corporation commission, so, in all 11 people. All of them are Republicans. The 48-member state Senate has 39 Republicans and 9 Democrats. The 101-seat state House has 77 Republicans and 24 Democrats. Both U.S. Senators are Republicans. And the 5 members of Congress are all Republicans.
Not red enough? The state PVI is R+20, same as Utah, worse than Wet Virginia. Only one state is redder: Wyoming. The last time Oklahoma went for a Democrat in a presidential election was 1964 (LBJ). The first time a presidential candidate exceeded a million votes was last year. Trump beat Hillary 65.32% to 29.93% and 4 years later-- when most people noticed the U.S. had been saddled with the worst president in history, Oklahoma handed him their 7 electoral votes 65.37% to 32.29%. Oklahoma and West Virginia were the only 2 states in the country where Trump won every county. OK, yogurt it, right? And the Republicans they elect are overwhelmingly out of control extremists, as bad as you can imagine.
The nut case governor, Kevin Stitt took a picture of himself and his kids in a packed restaurant and tweeted it out to his followers early in the pandemic. He was soon infected with COVID as were 437,974 Sooners. Stitt didn't die but 4,850 of his constituents did. Oklahoma has 110,684 cases per million residents, the 8th worst state in America.
One of the right-wing senators, James Lankford, is up for reelection next year. He was an evangelical minster and right-wing congressman when the Senate seat opened up in 2014 and he won the special election primary with 57% of the vote (in a 7-man race) and then won the general with 68% of the vote. He was reelected to a full term in 2016 and got the same 68%.
The 2022 election won't be quite as easy for him. An even further right evangelical pastor, 29 year old Jackson Lahmeyer (a knee-jerk Trumpist and anti-mask fanatic) announced he is primarying Lankford. He claims Lankford hasn't been supportive enough of Trump, probably because Lankford didn't physically join the filed coup on 1/6. In his first attack, Lahmeyer said, "I saw fear all over [Lankford] on Jan. 6; he caved in like an absolute coward and that let me know he is not the man to represent our state and the fight that our country is in right now."
It would be hard to imagine Trump endorsing Lahmeyer, since it would mean all out war with the NRSC. But Trump surrogate, Michael Flynn, one of the Russian assest Trump pardoned, endorsed Lahmeyer, signaling to the Trumpist base that Lankford is on Trump's shit-list. "We don’t need namby-pamby, we don’t need wishy-washy, we don’t need political correctness, we don’t need cancel culture… we need people who are very consistent in their beliefs," is what Flynn said when he went to Tulsa to make his endorsement official.
Lahmeyer is already illegally raising money without registering as a candidate with the FEC.
Oklahoma doesn't have a functioning Democratic Party that could take advantage of a divided GOP to run a successful campaign. The party officials are establishment, status quo GOP-lite types who enjoy their DNC status and have nothing going at all on a state level. It's very sad and Oklahoma isn't the only state with a completely useless and moribund Democratic Party.
In 2016, Oklahoma Democratic primary voters backed Bernie 174,228 (51.9%) to Hillary's 139,443 (41.5%). On that same day, Trump only got 130,141 primary votes. Of Oklahoma's 77 counties, Bernie won 75 to Hillary's 2. The state party officials were all a bunch of incompetent, venal conservative Hillary people who continued steering the party ever-rightward, underlining its utter irrelevance. "They are perfectly happy being biggish in a small pond... as long as they control the party," a state activist told me, "the Republicans will continue winning-- everything... If a progressive runs for the Senate, the only involvement the party would take is to defeat him or her."
Let me also mention that there are 9 states that each has a legislative chamber that could change hands this cycle-- each by 3 seats or less! And in Arizona both houses are flippable by that Democrats are playing defense in 3:
Nevada Senate-- 12 Democrats, 9 Republicans
Virginia Senate-- 21 Democrats, 17 Republicans, 1 independent, i vacant
Colorado Senate-- 20 Democrats, 15 Republicans
And the Democrats are playing offense in 6
New Hampshire Senate-- 14 Republicans, 10 Democrats
Minnesota Senate-- 34 Republicans, 31 Democrats, 2 independents
Michigan Senate-- 20 Republicans, 16 Democrats, 2 vacant
Arizona Senate-- 16 Republicans, 14 Democrats
Arizona House-- 31 Republicans, 29 Democrats
Texas Senate-- 18 Republicans, 13 Democrats