Furthermore; Republicans are now either comparable with, or surpassing Democrats on everything from voter enthusiasm and an increased online presence, to fundraising and a growing number of boots on the ground, grass root volunteers. For one of the first times in recent history, young Republican voters are expected to turn out in larger numbers than young Democrat voters. College Republicans have even jumped to a point in popularity and fundraising that is allowing them to go national with ads and target several key states on 2010.
When it comes to the large gap in internet presence and fundraising that existed between the left and right in 2008, in 2010 the trend has totally reversed. The first signs of this became evident 11 months ago when Scott Brown raised nearly $10 million online in all of 18 days. Now, we have seen other examples of internet success in such candidates as Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell who raised more than $1 million online in the 24 hours after their primary wins. All of this is a sign of two things. The G.O.P. has finally gained parity with the Democrats in the use of the internet and that the collective strength of the G.O.P.‘s grassroots is becoming increasingly more important than any strengths of particular candidates or their campaigns.
All of this points to a shifting of the political earththat is far greater than we saw in 1994.
Rarely has a political Party comeback as quickly as the Republican Party is poised to do this November. Normally, it takes much more than two years to bounce back from the type of losses that they suffered first in 2006 and then again in 2008.
It is accurate to say though, that the climb back to power for the G.O.P. is based less on the voters goodwill towards Republicans and more on the ill will that they have come to feel towards Democrats. Which leads me to wonder about something.
Between 2006 and 2010, neither Party seemed to be held in any great esteem, yet why was there not any great move to finally create that perennially promised, almighty, and perfect third Party that we always hear dissatisfied voters talk about?
Although there has so far been a strong ripple of anti-incumbent sentiment out there, we did not see the rise of that much hoped for third Party alternative. We did however see a powerful anti-big government movement infiltrate the process and greatly influence the field of Republicans running in 2010.
I believe that this is all largely due to the efforts of the Democrat Party more than the Republican Party.
The Party in power has overreached the mandate they thought they had in 2008. They even misread their significant wins in 2008 and assumed that the nation was actually desirous of an aggressive big government agenda. But in fact, they weren’t. The reason for the 2008 victory, led by the top of Democrat ticket with Barack Obama, was a phenomenon similar to the one that is giving rise to the Republican resurgence of 2010. Voters were voting against the Party in power.
This is what happens when voters are dissatisfied. They seek change……..the very same theme that candidate Obama successfully banked on in ’08.
Another key to the Democrat victories of 2008 was the excitement over the novelty of the historic chance to elect the nation’s first partially black President. And last but not least was the fact that the G.O.P. ran a weak nominee at the top ticket who failed to energize the base and failed to prove that republicanism under him, would be any different from the republicanism seen under G.W. Bush and the existing Republican leadership in Congress.
So change was born. But as we have come to see, the change that Democrats have run with, is not the change that Americans are satisfied with. As a result, the political pendulum is now swinging back in the opposite direction. But it is swinging with a vengeance. Between incredible Democrat overreach, and an explosion of exaggerated government growth, spending and deficit increases, Democrats have polarized the electorate far more than did the Republicans who after a few years in power, slowly but surely forgot their commitment to limited government and less spending.
But it is clear now that most Americans believe in the basic Republican ideology of less government, less taxes and less spending. That is why rather than seeing a surge for third Party candidacies, you have seen a rush towards cleaning out the Republican Party of those whom have drifted away from those principles and failed to stand up for them responsibly and consistently.
We are now seeing one of those rare occasions when a large majority of voters are actually pushing an ideology more than a candidate. That is what the TEA Party movement is all about. They are pushing a cause more than Party politics and as such they are helping to return the G.O.P. back to its true conservative roots by ridding it of so-called RINO’s.
But if the G.O.P. is to continue its rise back to power into 2012 and beyond, they will have to prove to the voters that some lessons have been learned.
Given that President Obama will still be President on the morning after November 2, 2010, and that the Senate will likely still be in Democrat control, albeit with a new Majority Leader, the G.O.P. House will have to hold firm in rejecting any compromises that err on the side of increased spending, and increased government overreach.
This will prompt charges of being obstructionists and cries that attempt to describe Republicans as the “Party of no” by those on the left, but it is important to remember that those initiating such remarks are not likely to ever support Republicans anyway. But if the G.O.P. aggressively offers solid alternatives while rejecting the President’s, and the Senate’s big government, liberal agenda, people will maintain faith in the new face of the G.O.P. and that ‘Party of no” description will continue to fall on deaf ears.
When the G.O.P takes back the House, they will have to prove that they are actually ready to fight for the values that are providing them with the momentum that they currently have behind them. This will especially be the case in matters of spending and the budget, since the House, more so then the Senate controls the purse strings of the federal government. If they flinch, and if they fail to keep their noses clean and deliver on their promised commitments, their will be little enthusiasm from the grassroots to maintain the level of support that they are currently placing behind the G.O.P..
Republicans will also have to remember a few things. First they must make sure that each issue is connected to government’s role in the everyday lives of Americans. They need to consistently demonstrate how big government is expanding its control over our personal lives but at the sake of properly dealing with its actual responsibilities such as providing a secure border and finally developing comprehensive immigration reform or balancing the federal budget. And they must keep each of these messages simple. The same way Ronald Reagan did in both 1980 and 1984, as demonstrated in the following 1984 Reagan campaign campaign ad:
Keeping it simple brings it home and in 1984 Reagan brought it home with a sweep of 49 states to Mondale’s 1.
But before we get to presidential politics as it pertains to 2012, we have to establish the point from which the G.O.P. will start from after 2o10. At the moment it looks like Republicans could far surpass the expectations of many in both the House and the Senate .
Based upon the circumstances that exist today and my own estimation of how things will play out in the individual landscapes of several hotly contested states, I see the senate tied at with 50 Republicans and the 48 Democrats plus the two left leaning Independents who caucus with the Democrats. This includes Retaining seats in Alaska, Arizona, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho,Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah while picking up seats in;
Arkansas (John Boozman over Blanche Lincoln)
Colorado (Ken Buck over Mike Bennet)
Illinois (Mark Kirk over Alexi Giannoulias)
Indiana (Dan Coats over Brad Ellsworth)
Nevada (Susan Angle over Harry Reid)
North Dakota (John Hoeven over Tracy Potter)
Pennsylvania (Pat Toomey over Joe Sestak)
Washington (Dino Rossi over Patty Murray)
Wisconsin (Ron Johnson over Russ Feingold)
However; there are several possibilities which increase the likelihood of a Republican takeover of the Senate.
Any one of three races could keep Joe Biden from breaking any tie vote. Delaware, West Virginia and/or California could very easily go Republican.
With the surprise win by a rather large margin of Christine O’Donnell over heavily favored Mike Castle, it is not of the question to believe that under the existing anti-left atmosphere and prevailing momentum, O’Donnell could pull off another surprise and take the seat away from the media annointed frontrunner Chris Coons. But even more possible than a Republican upset in delaware are the possible ones that are in the making inCalifornia and surprisingly, West Virginia.
In West Virginia, popular Democrat incumbent Governor Joe Mancin was originally seen as a shoo-in. He is one of those truly rare relative moderate Democrats and as a long serving Governor of the state he has done well by its voters and bonded with them extensively. Especially after a string of mining disasters that hit this coal mining state pretty hard and very personally. But it would seem that winds of disenchantment with anything relating to Democrats are blowing so strongly against them that even Mancin’s personal relationship with voters is being severely curtailed when it comes to sending him to Washington, D.C.. For that reason, his Republican opponent John Raese went from nearly 33% at the end of July to 48% at the end of September while during that same time period, the popular Mancin went from 54% to 46% where he currently stands 2% behind underdog Raese.
The race is sure to be close and right now it can easily go either way but I believe the Republicans can pull this one off and at the moment I believe they will squeak it out.
In California, I can’t underestimate Barbara Boxer.
In her last race for the Senate, back in 2004, she beat her Republican opponent by 20% and became the holder of the record for the most popular votes in a statewide contested election in California. But this time around, things are not so easy and she wont be breaking any records with her popular vote this time around.
She currently has a disapproval rating higher than her approval rating, one of the largest newspapers in the state has refused to endorse because they believe that after 18 years in the Senate she has failed to distinguish herself in any meaningful way and that they see no reason to believe that she will do with another 6 years in office.
But this is California, a state that President Obama won by 24% or more than 3.2 million votes. But in addition to that, something else that could work in Boxer’s favor this time around is a statewide proposition to legalize marijuana. That ballot question could draw many Democrats who otherwise were not interested in voting this time around, to the polls and while there, they just might push the button for Boxer.
For her part though. Republican Carly Fiorina is holding her own, has all the money she needs to keep pushing her message and pulling out her vote and at the moment, while she is behind Boxer, by less than 6 percent, Boxer is still under the 50% mark, a place that no incumbent should be in this close to the election.
Anyone of these three seats could easily break for the Republican and give control of the Senate back to the G.O.P. and the possibility of this happening increases each day that we get closer to Election Day. But even if neither Delaware, California or West Virginia fail to Republicans, with a 50/50 split it is quite conceivable that any one of handful of Democrats could switch Parties or in the case of Independent Joe Lieberman, decide to causcus with the Republicans instead of the Democrats.
On the House side, Republican victories are even more lopsided than they are in the Senate.
In the House of Representatives Republicans could possibly end up with the largest number of seats they have held since 1946 when the GOP won 246 seats. Currently it looks like the G.O.P. can actually win at least 62 seats, thereby breaking the House down to 241 Republicans and 194 Democrats. This projection is much higher than most estimates being publicly announced which, for the most part range in the 40’s. But my projection still falls below that of Patrick Ruffini a reputable and leading G.O.P. strategist who has been in the trenches for quite some time now. Ruffiini believes that the figure will certainly be somewhere over 50 seats but believes a 70 seat gain is not out of the question.
No matter what, the results of the midterm elections will produce profound changes in the direction of policy and at the very least change the pace of the Obama agenda .
But there remains an aspect of the 2010 midterm elections which is being overshadowed by the anticipated turnover in Congress and it could have an more even more important long term effect on politics.
That is the 37 gubernatorial elections being held throughout the nation. Of them Republicans are expected to pick up at least 8 new statehouses bringing them from 23 where they are currently at, to 31, leaving Democrats with Governors in only 19 states.
That number is profoundly important because in 2011 the once every decade census data is poured over by the states and with they draw the new the state legislative a congressional districts lines from which Americans will elect their representatives for the decade to come. Having Governors in 31 states, will give the G.O.P. an advantage in drawing districts that it will be easier to elect Republicans in.
But in addition to that, Governors can play a crucial role in presidential elections.
There ability to coordinate their states for national candidates is invaluable and having that advantage over Democrats in almost a dozen states, will give whomever the Republican presidential nominee is a leg up over President Obama in 2012. Of course if 2010 proves to be as devastating for Democrats as it is looking, President Obama may not be the Democrat nominee. I feel that if Democrat losses are as profound as they are shaping up to be, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will resign her post and in time declare that she will offer a primary challenge to President Obama in order to save the Democratic Party and the nation from him.
Of course it only takes one world event to turn things around and in politics 5 weeks is an eternity. But if things continue going as they are right now, Democrats are going to descend into the political wilderness for years to come and President Obama is going to be a one term President who Republican can thank for bringing them back to power and whom Democrats will blame for squandering their opportunity to maintain control of Washington for years to come.
- Assessing the G.O.P. and the Tea Party (fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com)
- G.O.P. Embraces Its Insurgents (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Tea-Party Movement Gains Steam (online.wsj.com)