Days of Change

The Lesson They Refuse to Learn | November 4, 2015

The concept of Congressional coat-tail wins became important in the 2002 elections. When Bush won the Electoral vote and the election in 2000, Republicans saw a small net loss in seats attributed to the just under 50% of popular votes for Bush. In 2002, all the predictions were that a lack of “coattails” would keep the House and Senate split. This was not the case. Bush had proved himself in that year and a half and managed to be a net positive for Republicans until the war became unpopular in the 2006 elections.

When Obama was elected, the legend of his long coattails was exploited even before the 2008 elections. For the most part, Democrats gained more seats in that elections, although some were gained questionably. However, the next three elections were not particularly great for Democrats. This year was also bad, a precursor of things to come. A few elections in 2009 were written off by Democrats as flukes which turned out to be a trend. The most important aspect of these Republican wins was their full-throated rejection of everything Obama stands for.

The Republicans have two realities they have to face. First, they can win almost every race and a majority nearly every time. The bad news is that they have to be an alternative to nearly every Democratic party position, something that will purge the moderates from their midst and upset many of the biggest donors to Super PACs.

Look at the big win of Matt Bevin in Kentucky. Bevin was a Tea Party supporter and a businessman in a state where Republicans rarely win the Governor’s mansion. He barely beat his primary challenge by 83 votes. The race was written off by media, who at most predicted a weak tie. Bevin won last night with 53%, 10% more than the Democrat running.

Then there’s Donald Trump. He is the only candidate of either party right now drawing a hard line on immigration. His rhetoric is a tad ridiculous for me, but a savvy negotiator leaves room for negotiation. If the US ends up getting a border fence, electronic verification and doesn’t deport all the 20 million illegal immigrants in the country, we can work with that. Sadly, every other Republican (or Democrat for that matter) would find the big checks dry up if they took a hard line. Ironically, they wouldn’t need the money if they ran on a strong defense of the border because they would get more votes for free.

Republicans keep trying to figure out how to win their way. Their way is the McCain way (which would have worked if Sarah Palin wasn’t made a pariah among the McCain campaign team), the Romney way and the Bush/Rubio way. Those were / are all doomed to fail. Maybe they should try the way people want. It’s called the free market of ideas.


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  1. Maybe they should try the way people want.

    But..but…that would not be pc. It would not be obama-esque. It mean freedom of choice. It would mean democracy.

    Comment by Mary — November 5, 2015 @ 1:27 am

    • Anybody wanting to do it the people’s way doesn’t understand nuance…..and negotiation……and abject surrender.

      Comment by 49erDweet — November 5, 2015 @ 6:41 am

      • Democracy is fine, as long as the citizens are left out of it.

        Comment by 1539days — November 7, 2015 @ 11:44 pm

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