Notes of October 25
By Bruce Walker
Elections are not about generic congressional polls. If they were, then Republicans, according to most polls, would have lost seats in the last two general elections instead of gaining seats in both houses of Congress. Elections are about individual races. Increasingly, Republicans have cause to be hopeful and not terrified.
The recent special congressional election in California, like the earlier special congressional election in Ohio, confirm conventional political wisdom: districts gerrymandered to favor one political party are very difficult to lose. Tom DeLay’s old seat in Texas, for example, will certainly stay Republican. A bland Republican won the congressional special election in Ohio several months ago. The odds are that Republicans will hold Duke Cunningham’s old seat as well.
Those were optimum circumstances for Democrats and (anticipating the outcome of the California runoff), Democrats lost. It has been fashionable to blame gerrymandering on Republicans, but it was for decades the tool of Democrats to maintain control of the House of Representatives. A well financed, high turnout campaign in districts that “should” be Republican will result in Republican victories.
My prediction is not only that Democrats will not capture the House, but with Tom DeLay gone and Cynthia McKinney dragging on, Republicans may not lose any seats at all or even gain seats (recall in 1998, Democrats with all the scandals surrounding Clinton gained five House seats.)
If Democrats had a Contract With America instead of a Contract On Bush, then perhaps they could persuade Americans to rally to their banner, but their only banner is hate and the more that wave that banner, the more they will energize Republican majorities in congressional districts, which districts themselves are a clear majority of the congressional districts in the House of Representatives.
If anything, the Senate looks better. There are very real chances to gain seats in New Jersey (scandal ridden with Democrats), Maryland (where savaging Steele could produce not just a black backlash for Steele, but for Republicans), Minnesota and Nebraska. Moreover, Washington is looking increasing winnable. Wisconsin is winnable if Tommy Thompson runs. Florida is won if Jeb Bush runs. Michigan is also increasingly winnable.
The seats that Democrats might pick up – Pennsylvania, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Rhode Island – all trending Republican. The inherent advantage that Republicans have in Senate races, because most states are “Red,” means that with a bit of luck Republicans may gain or one or two Senate seats. If Joe Lieberman is forced to run as an independent (and win) he will also vote to organize with Republicans.
Even gubernatorial races look good. The GOP will lose New York (big deal), but will probably win Illinois or Pennsylvania or Michigan, and winning those smaller, but popular states – Michigan and Pennsylvania in particular being swing states – would produce more practical political benefits.
All of this assumes of course, that Republicans stay splintered and that Democrats do not have another Gary Condit or Dan Rostenkowski or a second Cynthia McKinney scandal between now and November. All of this assumes, also, that we do not capture Osama bin Ladin, that a good government is not formed in Iraq and some troops come home, that there is not revolution or defeat of the mullahs in Iran, any one of which would swing public opinion overnight.
It has become almost the monotonous mantra of the Left that Democrats will make big gains in six months. Remember: these are the same folks sure that Reagan would lose in a landslide in 1980, that Reagan could not be reelected, that Newt’s Contract With America would not work, that Democrats would retake the House in 1996, that Al Gore would win in 2000, that Republicans would not recapture the Senate in 2002 and that President Bush would not be reelected in 2004.
The only problem Republicans have is getting weak kneed and believing the propaganda of those whose mission in life is to destroy them politically. President Bush has won four consecutive major elections. He has led his party to unprecedented mid-term victories in 2002. And he is in a fighting mood. The nervous Nellies live in the Beltway, Republican or otherwise, but the voters live in America.
The smart money should not be on the party who can find no more persuasive advocates than Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. The smart money should be on the party with guts, principles, the party that has been winning since 1994, and the party whose conservatism is in synch with the sixty percent of Americans who call themselves conservative.
Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a contributing editor to Enter Stage Right and a regular contributor to Conservative Truth, American Daily, Intellectual Conservative, Web Commentary, NewsByUs and Men's News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!