Will Republican Dirty Money Drive Democrats To the Polls?
The Washington Post just began its second annual Next Great Pundit Contest. Though I’m no longer eligible to enter, it did provoke another look at my contest-losing entry from last year. I wrote about the landscape Democrats might face in the upcoming midterms. It turns out to have been, in Brit-speak, “spot on.” Here’s what I wrote one year ago today:
“Democratic strategists now musing about next year’s midterm elections must be concerned about soft supporters. The Democrats already have a unity disadvantage, actually being the “big tent” both parties claim to offer. Membership includes northeast liberals, Midwestern moderates and southern, conservative Blue Dogs. By contrast, Republicans are narrow casting more than ever.
Now mix in a big bunch of brand new Democrats. Both parties’ memberships were roughly equal in 2004. Republicans won by having more reliable voters, not more of them. By 2008, a sea change had occurred. The Hoover Foundation reports Democrats netted a 9.6 percent gain in just four years. Then nearly ten million new voters cast ballots. In cobbling together the majority that delivered the White House to President Obama, Democrats added large numbers of “Fickles.” These include single issue liberals, politically inactive Bush haters, far left outsiders, and late-choice independents (who just waited to guess the winning side.) Will they turn out for a midterm?
Lately, the Fickles are increasingly feckless. Not content with showing Neoconservatives the door and staving off a depression, they’ve begun to complain that their pet issues aren’t solved. After all, they reason, the better part of a year has passed. Shouldn’t Obama have completed his agenda by now?
Rather than advocate for their issue, they heap blame on the president. Obama is disingenuous, they complain. He didn’t keep his promises. The new administration is “same as it ever was.” It is as if they suffered a traumatic memory loss right around the time President Bush hung a for sale sign on his brush ranch.
I get it. Politics is a particular dark art. You have to pay really close attention to understand how it works – and even to see what happened. Nonetheless, it ought to be obvious that the big tent shelters lots of different wants.Continued on the next page