I fully expect a huge sea-change this November. While off-year elections generally work against a sitting President, I expect this time around to be much more deleterious than standard shifting. Sabato’s Crystal Ball says the Republicans will gain 27 or 37 seats in the House, depending on which formulation it uses (40 is the magic number for majority status) and states “Republicans now have a good chance of regaining control of the House of Representatives in November.” Other prognosticators suggest the Republicans could pick up as many as 50 seats, with a political science student crunching numbers to say the Republican gain could be as many as 60 seats (or more). Oh, and that student, Harry Joe Enten, “was the get out the vote chair for the College Democrats effort in 2008,” so he doesn’t exactly qualify as a Republican shill.
On the Senate side, Sabato’s Crystal Ball sees a 7-seat swing. With a 19/19 split in the elections (a handful are special elections), 7 seats is big. A 7-seat swing would have to defeat the inertia involved. Again, Sabato’s prognostication is on the conservative side as other prognosticators suggest could gain the 10 seats necessary to swing the Senate to a Republican majority. As little as 6 months ago, the idea Republicans could regain the Senate would’ve been dismissed as a ridiculous dream. But no more.
And the seeming intransigence of President Obama and his advisors, and the Congressional Democrat leadership in light of recent “unexpected” Republican electoral wins suggests a maintained intransigence following the 2010 Republican landslide that is all but guaranteed. This suggests even further gains in 2012 and quite possibly a change in the Presidency.
So far, I’ve painted a rosy picture for Republicans and Conservatives (not necessarily the same thing). But history shows a different picture. Do you remember the 1994 elections, where Republicans were swept into office in unprecedented numbers? This does feel like 1994 all over again in many aspects. But what happened as a result of 1994?
The Democrats lurched leftward as moderate Democrats lost to Republicans, leaving very liberal Democrats in office. And “big tent” Republicans, forgetting how they won, also lurched leftward to fill the void. And they left their Conservative base behind in the process.
And this is my concern. The 2010 and 2012 elections will likely weed out the more moderate among the Democrats (and the uber-leftist President Obama), shifting the Democrat party ever leftward. And if past history is any indicator to the future, the Republican Party will again shift leftward to fill the void, alienating even more Conservatives.
The difference between 1994 and 2010? TEA Party/Town Hall/912 activists. While these activists are bearing down on Democrat leadership, they are also bearing down on Republican leadership. Will TEA Party/Town Hall/912 activists maintain their newly awakened and activist work and hold Republicans accountable after 2010 and 2012 or will they tire of the workload and return to “life as usual” after the elections? That, I believe, is the key to righting the ship and rescuing the US from disaster.
But I still have my trepidations.