That Republicans will make gains is no surprise. The party out of power - and in this case way out of power -- nearly always benefits in the midterm elections. And, as we wade through the muck of destruction left in George W. Bush's wake, we must also expect that those currently in charge will take a hit for the current state of the nation, regardless of whom was responsible for it.
Also no surprise is that the minority party will be the party with greater 'passion' and thus the most 'likely' voters. The frustration of powerlessness is a great motivator.
Thus the media narrative of which we are all familiar.
There are, however, some elements to this year's election cycle that might be surprising, some things that run counter to the narrative that Republicans will take the day. These are things that will deny the GOP their fantasy of a congressional majority.
And here they are, conveniently bullet-pointed for your perusal:
Top 9 Reasons the GOP Will Fail to Take Either the House or the Senate
The Associated Press-GfK Poll this month shows that the public is fed up with both parties. Only 38 percent approve of how congressional Democrats are handling their jobs, and just 31 percent like how Republicans are doing theirs. Fifty-nine percent are unhappy with how Democrats are nursing the economy, 64 percent are upset by the GOP's work on the country's top issue.
This may sound like a small consolation for Democrats, but it is meaningful that the opposition holds no special position in the electorate's heart. It is particularly important as it relates to bullet point #2...
2) This is NOT 1994. I know a lot of Republican blowhards have a tough time figuring this one out - or at least admitting they've figured it out, but it's true nevertheless. Unlike 1994, The Republicans now have no vision, focus, or message. There is no 'Contract with America'. The GOP also has no leasder. Boehner is no Gingrich. But probably the biggest difference between 2010 and 1994 is that the Republican base doesn't even have confidence in their own leadership: Rightwing blogger Tim Dunkin explains:
The problem here is a lack of leadership, from the top all the way down. The Republicans seem to have little to no concept of organizational discipline...
Republican "leaders" seem unable to establish true cohesion among elected Republicans, except in opposition to the most extreme of Democratic proposals. It's to the point now where most of the major Republicans who are vocal about standing up for conservative principles and opposing the Democratic agenda are those who do not actually occupy leadership positions within the party apparatus itself. Think Jim DeMint. Think Sarah Palin. Think Michele Bachmann, Jan Brewer, and Paul Ryan.
This lack of leadership is what will kill the GOP with moderate and independent voters. Let's face it...
Yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah and on and on. God.
And, hmm, that doesn't sound very passionate to me.
Anyway, speaking of failed leadership, let's not forget...
3) Michael Steele - truly worthy of his own numbered bulletpoint. This miscreant is the GOP posterchild for unwanted distraction, incompetence, and general tomfoolery. A true joke who spends more of his time embarrassing the Republican party and undermining their efforts than he does raising much needed funds and uniting disparate Republican factions. Grand entertainment for all.
And even he is surpassed by...
4) The Tea Party - A Frankenstein monster that has escaped its dungeon shackles to wreak havoc across the land. it has released such beasts as evil clown Christine O'Donnell and flesh-eating vampira Sharon Angle. Both have devoured Republican's chances of senate seat pickups in their respective states.
As this year's GOP proxy, the Tea Party illustrates the right-wing's total abandonment of moderate politicians or even sanity. When the election results have been delivered, the jury will agree - the Tea Party destroyed the Republican party, not the Democratic party.
5) Democrat's "Firewall" Strategy and Dionne's "Northeast Barrier" - Certain parts of the country lean left while others lean right. Those that lean left will always pose a particular challenge for Republicans - especially in a year that finds the Tea Party dragging the GOP to the right (if you can imagine that).
The Democrats' "Firewall" Strategy focuses on protecting Democratic candidates who face strong opposition in blue states unlikely to vote for Republicans regardless of their displeasure with the incumbent. Here, Democrats outnumber Republicans and progressivism dominates. Even if a smaller percentage of these state's Democrats actually vote compared to the percentage of the state's Republicans, the raw number of Democrats voting is still likely to match or surpass that of the Republicans.On ABC World News, senior Washington editor Rick Klein reports that:
Democrats "are turning to a firewall strategy, to play defense wherever they can. That's why you are seeing President Clinton campaign throughout New England, some of the bluest states in the nation. And that's why we see President Obama visit four battleground states this week. All states he carried. All states have endangered Democrats."
On a similar vein...
The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne notes the Northeast Barrier -- a region of the US that Republicans have failed to prove they can conquer.
A Pew Research Center survey released last week underscored stark regional disparities that could shape the outcome Nov. 2. The survey found that while Democrats trail Republicans by three points among all registered voters in the South, they are ahead of the GOP by nine points in the Northeast.
Because of the enthusiasm gap, Republicans do better among those who now seem most likely to vote. Yet the regional variations are even more pronounced in this group: While Republicans are ahead by one point among likely voters in the Northeast, they lead by 15 points in the South.
The emergence of the Northeast as a potential Democratic firewall has been a long time in the making. The steady realignment of the South toward the Republicans, which rendered the party increasingly conservative, called forth a counter-realignment among moderates in the North.
That trend has been accelerating. Since 2006, Democrats have taken 18 Northeastern seats away from the Republicans, and the impact of this change is especially stark in New England. Among the region's 22 House members, not one is Republican. (...)
This year, Republicans have plausible chances for both of New Hampshire's House seats and for an open seat in Massachusetts. They also have realistic prospects in a number of formerly Republican seats in New York and Pennsylvania.
[However], the Republicans' evermore right-wing image, shaped in part by Tea Party activists, will impede the GOP's regional comeback efforts.
6) The GOP Failed to rally around Healthcare repeal. This was that big thing the right was going to focus on, a strategy, they felt, that would usher them swiftly to victory. But now, 'falling flat' would overestimate the strategy's success. Instead, it made Republicans look elitist and cruel, accentuating the party's obstructionist platform and highlighting their lack of message.
In the meantime, high-profile benefits from the Healthcare Bill have been implemented:
These reforms serve as a bridge until 2014, when more important benefits kick in. New health insurance exchanges will let individuals and small businesses purchase affordable insurance -- the same coverage as members of Congress -- regardless of their health status.
- Insurers will no longer be able to cancel your policy because you made a minor mistake on an application.
- Insurance firms will no longer be able to place lifetime dollar limits on your benefits that result in people losing insurance when they need it most -- in the middle of a crisis.
- In many cases, insurers will no longer be able to refuse to sell you a policy to cover your child because she was born with asthma or some other pre-existing medical condition.
- Insurance companies, in many cases, will no longer be allowed to refuse to pay a doctor or hospital bill without giving you the chance to appeal to a group of outside experts.
These are concrete, noticeable, and meaningful benefits to millions of families across the nation. They also play very well in the media and appeal to the emotional side of the electorate.
7) Natural cycles within each election period disfavor Republicans. Simply put, The Republicans have peaked too soon in this election while the natural swing of the pendulum indicates that the Democrats will rally into the election even as the passion of the right wanes. In other words, the 'likely voter' measure will even out at least a little bit come election time.
8) Continued changes in America's demographics favor Democrats. And it's not hard to figure out why. America's increasingly diverse (read 'non-old-white-man') electorate favors the Democrats more progressive stance on issues that affect them. For example, the Democrats' positions on such things as Arizona immigration law and the opening of Cuba to families in the US reflect very favorably on the growing Latin constituencies.
And finally, if all that wasn't enough, there is always the fact that...
- Shut down government to deny funding of healthcare
- Privatize Social Security
- Endlessly investigate the Obama Administration
- Repeal the 14th amendment
- Stifle emissions reductions and other climate regulations
- Repeal recent finance reform
- Create total gridlock in Washington eliminating any hope of moving forward as a society.
Clearly, there is hope. However, As is always the case with hope, it cannot stand on its own. We must make it happen. We must get out the vote, accentuate the differences between what the parties have to offer - Progress toward the future with the Democrats, or a race back to the stone age with the same old, tired, failed policies of the Republicans.
The choice is clear. The future is ours for the taking.
The GOP will fail to take either the house or the senate.
Now let's make it happen!
KEYWORDS: Democrats, Elections, Election 2010, Midterm Elections, Media, Political Trends, Tea Party, Republicans
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