Why a 2010 Blowout Will Not Mean Things Are Better

After the 2002 and 2004 elections, Republicans celebrated electoral victories that many thought would put them in the position to maintain a long-term majority. In turn, Democrats pushed the panic button and began looking for ways to turn things around. Likewise, after 2006 and 2008, it was the opposite effect, with Democrats claiming a permanent majority, and Republicans looking to rebuild.

Once again, the political climate seems to be changing, this time in favor of Republicans. President Obama’s approval ratings are continuing to trend significantly downward, with the latest Rasmussen Poll even suggesting that the majority of Americans disapprove. More voters believe that the economic stimulus plan has hurt the economy than helped it. Support for the public health option continues to tumble, too.

Looking at these trends and others, Patrick Ruffini writes that a 2010 blowout is quite possible, and I really don’t disagree at all. However, I wanted to offer a word of caution in the case Republicans win (or win big) in 2010, despite the fact that I recently Tweeted the following:

No more “[Name] for President” group invites on Facebook, please. Let’s focus on winning in 2010 first and worry about 2012 after!

Such a victory in 2010 will by no means indicate that things are better for Republicans long-term. Rather, it would be the result of a number of fortunate circumstances. Just see Ruffini’s suggestions as to why Republicans should prepared for a blow out:

  • The horrendous 2006 and 2008 cycles have depressed Republican totals in Congress to far below the historical mean. Though the fact that there were two successive 20+ seat losses in the House and 5+ seat losses in the Senate in the House is historically unique, collectively they equal one 1980 or 1994-style wipeout — after which Democrats finally began to recover.
  • The unique confluence of youth and African American turnout for Obama padded vote totals for Congressional Democrats by about 4 points — and in a midterm — I’m sorry — those votes won’t be there. We saw this pretty clearly in the Georgia Senate runoff. In 2012, however, those voters might be back — making 2010 an opportune moment for a promising Congressional challenger to gain a foothold.
  • The Democrats are now clearly responsible for everything, and trying to blame Bush and the GOP wears thinner and thinner by the day. Even if the economy recovers somewhat, and with massive job losses still on the horizon, I don’t see people feeling that recovery, let’s remember that the economy was in a clear recovery by 1994 but that didn’t help Clinton and Democrats.

The bottom line — and what Republicans cannot forget, even with a huge win in 2010 — is that these fortunate circumstances are not something around which you can build a sustainable majority. Voters aren’t always going to be ticked about the economy, the Democrats won’t always have a filibuster-proof majority, and although the “unique confluence of youth and African American turnout” may not be there in 2010, as Ruffini notes, “in 2012 … those voters might be back”. And as I’ve been writing about lately, the RNC hasn’t done a darn thing to try to win over young voters while the DNC continues to find new ways to earn their support. While these voters may not show up in 2010, in 10-15 years they will no longer be youth voters — instead, they will represent the kind of middle-aged voters that Republicans will need to turn out, both during Presidential election years and during mid-term and other off years.

So while there are many reasons to be excited about the prospects of 2010, the political climate will likely change again from 2010 to 2012, as it often does.  Although focusing on the short-term may end in positive results in 2010, Republicans still must think long-term about building a sustainable majority. Otherwise, the GOP may soon again face another 2006 or 2008 — but the next time, it may be much harder to turn around.

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Comments

Then Don't Rely on the RNC

The RNC hasn't done a darn thing to try to win over young voters.

If the RNC hasn't done anything, then it's the responsibility of local parties & the candidates themselves to win over these voters. Having the RNC help with that obviously would be the best situation but if they don't, then it's up to We The People to craft a solution.

Here in Central Minnesota, that's what we're doing: crafting our own solution to attract young voters.

First things first, walk before run

Always good advice.

However, it is ALSO important to think about how we can use the moment to build a more permanent election coalition.

President Obama has given a great gift to the Republicans. Republicans through their actions had watered down the fiscal conservative 'brand' to the point of meaninglessness. The GOP lost elections due to bad performance but also lack of trust in their ability to stand for small government oriented principles.

Those voters got a hue wake-up call with Obama's bailouts, boondoggles, tax increases, and attempts to take over the energy and healthcare sectors. We know the 'drunken sailor' line. To take the analogy further, Obama and the Dems are now spending like a sailor on crack in a high-priced bordello using stolen credit cards. Bush in 7 years up to 2008 had $1.2 trillion in deficits. Obama will do that in 1 year - this year, and will do 7 times that much - $7 trillion in deficits if his budget goes according to 'plan'. (Yes, it could even be WORSE than that.) And that is wil higher taxes on the rich, a proposed 8% payroll tax on businesses that dont give health insurance, mandates, fees and burdens on self-employed, smokers taxes, taxes on energy, massive intrusion on how we use energy, etc.

People are aghast - There has to be a better way!

Creating/reviving an alternative vision based on free market principles, sound money, smaller Government, lower tax rates, federalism and CHOICE in govt services - choice in healthcare, choice in education, choice in retirement - will make a more permanent alternative for future elections.  The Oxymoron of 'big govt conservatism' is dead; good riddance. Now its time to update the conservative agenda for the 21st century on the basis of a clear and stark alternative to the Leviathan Government Liberalism of Obama and Co.

One step at a time:

1. Stop Obama's dangerous agenda

2. Win back in 2010

3. Build on an altrenative vision of freedom and limited government

 

 

"in 10-15 years they will no longer be youth voters..." but

they'll have been out on their own for a few years paying the bills and watching their paycheck shrink due to the multiple new taxes imposed by the Democratic Party, thus translating into GOP votes