Don't get me wrong, I'm an optimistic guy. It's not in my nature to see the glass as half empty. Still,, perhaps once in a while it's necessary to look at the glass in this way-usually I do see it half full. I'd like to believe Ari Berman, that 2010 was just a short blip in a longer "secular" Democratic surge. It may be to be sure. That's been my assumption.
Part of it is I just can't believe that with the GOP's sorry record so many Americans still vote for them-I have no idea how it's possible, and agree with Delong that this party doesn't deserve to exist-though this is a democracy. It's one of those things that Marx called a "contradiction" that as a liberal I of course always think things will be great if only my party is in power. To be sure Marx hardly solved things-with those who were inspired by him, there was just one party.
Certainly I'm with Delong in going after the GOP balls to the wall. Still, there is a decent bearish case for the Democrats right now.
For me this makes no sense. I mean after the debt limit fiasco it was the GOP whose unpopularity reached unprecedented levels. The GOP is the party that has pushed all these reactionary abortion laws and anti-female laws in state after state. It's the GOP who have all these hostile anti-Hispanic immigration laws. It's the GOP's values that Occupy Wall Street is so opposed to. Surely Americans have finally had enough of the GOP?
Yes and no. At the national level, Obama should win this going away. However what's a source of concern is the congressional races. My guess is that even the RNC knows they aren't going to unseat Obama-beating an incumbent is never that easy anyway. Yes Obama successfully beat the GOP in last Summer's debt ceiling chicken game-as David Corn does a great job of documenting in his new book about Obama that just hit the stores.
Trouble is, that helps Obama, but the early polls seem to show he doesn't have any coat tails. The polls seem to show the GOP with a good shot at taking back the Senate, while totally holding it's commanding House lead.
According to Election Projection, Obama will blow out Romney-he leads in all the must win Republican states-Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. However, they show the GOP taking up 5 Senate seats and 1 House seat. This will give them both Houses of Congress. The also show the Republicans picking up 4 more Governors for a 33-16 lead-they do assume Scott Walker holds on in the recall, listing Wisconsin as a "weak GOP hold."
If this happens Obama may be little more than a lame duck as he won't be able to pass anything-not that he really can now with a thin Dem Senate majority. True he'll be able to veto the GOP Congress-so what we'll have is more gridlock. Just what this country needs.
If it does go down this way, then in 2014 it again won't look good as it will be an off year election-which usually goes to the opposing party-the GOP.
To be sure, the one thing that you can hang your hat on is that this was the setup in 1998 with Clinton, and the Dems unexpectedly picked up 5 Senate seats.
Obama may need to learn more from Clinton as his Administration may follow the same trajectory. Of course, this GOP is more obstructionist than ever. Then in 2016, the generic Republican will by definition lead the generic Democrat-it's just how American politics work. It's very tough for one party to hold power beyond 8 years.
And of course if this generic Democrat did win-my guess is that the candidate won't be Biden, and I'm certain it won't be Hillary-then their odds of winning in 2020 are as long as they come.
The last time the Democrats won more than 2 terms in a row was Truman following FDR's 4 straight terms. It's very rare to see a party in US politics have two successive two term Presidents.
Back to this year, one thing that hurts the Democrats this year a lot is that 21 Democratic seats are up for election with only 10 GOP seats up for grabs. The Dems have to play a lot more defense just to hold steady, the Republicans can afford to play offense.
To be sure, in that poll I cited above, it's mostly the result of pundit picks rather than polls at this stage, and in many races the candidate has yet to be picked. Then again as we learn in economics, what's so hard about expectations is that we usually wrongly assume the future will look more like the present than it will
What I don't get is why the Dems seem to always have so many more Senate seats up for grabs than the GOP-is it redistricting? Anyone know feel free to explain it.
One more GOP advantage-they are making it harder to vote everywhere they can. The new voting laws are meant to make sure the wrong people-Democrats- can't vote.
Anyway, this is the pessimistic view. There is a more bullish case for the Democrats. But that's usually the one I dwell on. In the long term I do think the GOP's playbook that has served them well since the 60s is not going to work so well in the future. The country is changing both in ethnic makeup but also in politics.
You have to remember that in 1968 this was a totally different world. The country was suffering from fatigue from all the social upheaval-civil rights,, then the riots that followed civil rights. Antiwar activism, feminism, the uprisings on campuses across the country. There was also the Cold War. The GOP could position itself as the party of "law and order" and yes create a whole host of "wedge" issues where people could covertly vote their prejudices-the big wedge issue of the early 70s was, of course, busing.
The country today is over 20 years after the Cold War, and has largely come to terms with the race and gender issues of the 60s-I don't mean there aren't still problems, of course, but few people today have the level of fear for say, black people, that they had 40 years ago. The country has changed, is changing.
The country's ethnic makeup is changing, while at the same time the country is less racist. To put it bluntly, white people make up a smaller proportion of the whole, but white people themselves are much less racist than they were in 1970. The old GOP playbook still plays in many places regionally, but I do still think on the national level they are headed for some difficult years ahead. Congenitally speaking their platform is meant to appeal to older white males at the expense of women, minorities, and the young. This playbook won't work in the future.