It was a shellacking, no two ways about it. The Republican gains in both houses of Congress weren’t even as dominant as their gains in the Chief Executive positions across most of the country. It was so bad that even such a Democratic stronghold as Massachusetts elected a Republican Governor. Sure, off-year elections are usually dominated by local issues. But this time the Republican made every race a referendum on President Obama. Exit polls showed low approval ratings on Obama, and of those who gave him low marks, the vast majority voted Republican. Naturally those who identified themselves as Republicans voted more Republican than those who identified themselves as Democrats. But, a sizable number of Democrats who gave President Obama low marks deserted the party’s top-of-the-ticket candidates, and many independents who did broke overwhelmingly for the Republicans. These results shouldn’t be surprising to liberals. The Democratic Party had no consistent message, and there was a good message to be given: our economy is the strongest in the world, the...Read More
We come down to the wire on the 2014 congressional elections. My long term advice, and others made the suggestion as well, that the Democrats should embrace Obamacare by using talking points that included examples of real people who have already benefited, in a serious way, from it. Unfortunately this strategy was ignored. Democrats have been running from it, faced with poor poll results for both President Obama and Obamacare. In doing so, they turned the issue into a Republican mantra against Obamacare, and this cost them at least two to three percent in the vote according to my estimates. My point, of course, was that the public could have been turned on the Obamacare issue and likely helped the President’s poll numbers along the way. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but the marginal opinions on Obamacare were soft and changeable. And for many, The Affordable Care Act was an unfathomable bit of legislation. Right after it was passed, polls indicated about a fifty-four percent support...Read More
The Senate elections; The odds favor the Republicans, but end of campaign momentum will decide the election.
The numbers appear stacked against the Democratic Party as it strives to maintain control of the Senate in next month’s elections. Thirty-six U.S. Senate seats are on the ballot this November. Twenty-one of them currently are held by Democrats and sixteen are held by Republicans. Democrats have twenty seats considered up for grabs, while Republicans have thirteen that may be vulnerable. It will take a net gain of six seats for the Republicans to seize control. Real Clear Politics has the Republicans likely to win a net gain of seven seats. Pollster Rasmussen now lists nine safe seats held by Democrats and fifteen by Republicans. Late campaign momentum usually is both volatile and crucial to off year Congressional elections. While there is still time for the usual last minute shifts in voting preferences by the voters, and the last weeks momentum is crucial, the mathematics for the Democrats show that it will be an uphill fight to keep the Republicans from winning control of the Senate and therefore hold...Read More
Syndicated commentator Froma Harrop last week echoed my earlier call for Democrats to “stop running from Obamacare.” She noted that “Mend it, don’t end it is hardly a rousing battle cry.” Subsequently, the President, in announcing that enrollment surpassed The Congressional Budget Office’s pre-startup 7 million sign-up goal, defended Obamacare, saying: “Many of the tall tales that have been told about this law have been debunked…There are still no death panels. Armageddon has not arrived. Instead, this law is helping millions of Americans, and in the coming years it will help millions more.” This is a succinct and strong statement, lacking only folksy examples of people that have benefited from the Health Care Act so far. Yet, this theme has not been repeated by him, nor served as ‘talking points’ for Congressional Democrats. Those standing for re-election have continued to run from Obamacare as if it was a leper in biblical times. Off year elections are notoriously difficult for the party in the White House. Polls show that support...Read More
Updates in response to recent news about Egypt, Syria, Obama focused messages, and Governor Christies new low-profile
This post will feature short follow-ups on some recent post subjects. News are coming in fast and short updates seem more efficient than a series of new posts on each issue. This is a political and social commentary post after all, albeit from a pragmatic liberal perspective, and it’s in the nature of the subject matter for quick changes to occur. Egypt The Cabinet of Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi abruptly resigned this past week. The reasons for that were not immediately clear. But it appears that he has been offered up as a scapegoat for a shaky economy marred by an unusually large number of strikes. Denying that his government has been impotent, Beblawi, as a parting shot made the assertion that, “The cabinet has over the past six or seven months shouldered a very difficult responsibility…(and) in most cases the results were good.” His fall was no doubt in part caused by the slow rate of progress in dealing with the economy. But it also reflected...Read More
Congressional elections may depend not on how far the Democrats distance themselves from Obamacare but how well they embrace it.
Obama and the Democrats are wed to Obamacare firmly in the minds of the electorate. Because of that, success in the coming House and Senate elections may well depend not on how far Democrats can distance themselves from Obamacare, but on how well they embrace the legislation and are able to swing the public over to a positive orientation towards it. This is not as difficult as it might seem given all the negative publicity about Obamacare. First of all, Republicans are still the group with the least support for Obamacare. This is to be expected. But even with their solid disapproval, a favorable overall response to it is within reach. Secondly, while Republicans are unlikely to be swayed by anything the Democrats do, the key finding of recent polls indicates that between forty and forty five percent of those interviewed now identify themselves with neither party but instead as independents. This is both unheard of in the modern era and yet unsurprising given the exceptionally low grades the...Read More