This is supposed to be the great repeat of the 2010 midterms where the GOP swept the board on a tide of
blatant racism “concerned citizenry.” Wait, I actually did mean “blatant racism.” Pure, unadulterated racism. But it looks like 2014 is shaping up to be the year of the Great Republican Fizzle. They’ll still technically “win” but Fox is going to have to work overtime to sell it as a great victory:
In the last two midterm elections, in 2006 and 2010, partisan waves shaped the outcomes, delivering big victories first to the Democrats, then to the Republicans. This time around, that doesn’t seem to be happening.
The latest evidence comes from new polling by the Pew Research Center, which shows Republicans holding an advantage in enthusiasm about the November election, but at a significantly lower level than they had in 2010 or Democrats had four years earlier.
Right after the GOP got spanked in 2012, my friend pointed out that we were almost certainly getting spanked ourselves in 2014. In the last one hundred years the number of times the president’s party did not lose seats in the second midterm can be counted on one hand. There’s no hard rules in politics but this is as close as it gets.
Add to that the still sluggish economy, the president’s low (comparatively speaking) approval rate, the numerous made up scandals, the constant (phony) drumbeat of impeachment, and the fact that far more Democratic seats are up for reelection than Republican ones and November’s elections should be a total massacre with the Senate flipping handily to the GOP and the House becoming even redder.
But, as polls are showing, the enthusiasm just isn’t there. The GOP is torn between bowing to the crazed far right extremists and sucking up to the corporations. It’s really pissing off the base that the Republican Party refuses to go full Tealiban and declare a new Civil War. And since “compromise” is the dirtiest word there is to an extremist, anything Republicans do that has even the whiff of agreement with the president is considered heresy worthy of punishment. They’re going to show up to vote against that black guy in their White House but not for much else. But Democratic voters are going to show up to vote against the GOP, something they historically do not do.
It’s true! Democratic voters have finally started to view elections the way Republican voters have for years:
The poll also showed a small, but perhaps significant, shift in how Democratic voters look at the election. Democrats were more likely than in the past to say they were taking seriously the issue of which party would control Congress, with 62% saying that issue would be a major motivating factor in their vote.
Finally! It certainly took long enough! The White House is important but we’ve all learned that allowing one party to essentially shut down Congress is terrible for the country. It’s not enough to only vote when you’re happy with your party, you also have to vote to keep raving lunatics from the reins of power. And, honestly, we have the right wing to thank for waking up the left.
As long as Republicans kept their extremist agenda quiet, it was easy for people to dismiss “both parties” as the same. But then they unleashed their crazies while the Democrats mostly stayed where they were. Or, worse (from the right’s point of view), Democrats became more populist. Even independents that pay little attention to politics are having a hard time saying “Ban all contraceptives! Put God and guns in every school room!” is “just the same” as “Get big money out of politics! Affordable healthcare for everyone!” One of those messages appeals to most people, the other only appeals to a small and disturbed segment of the country.
Republicans are almost certainly going to pick up a few seats in the House and might might take the Senate. By all rights, the Democrats should be getting crushed in November. If the best they can do is a handful of wins and a razor thin margin in the Senate, sure, they’ll have “won” but it won’t be anything to cheer about. But if they fail to take the Senate? 2014 will be an utter debacle by any reasonable measure.