Bill Knight column for Thurs., Fri., or Sat., Dec. 4, 5 or 6
Two Texans offer political primers. James Cullen, a Manchaca, Texas, journalist who edits the Progressive Populist newspaper, notes that Democrats had a 42.2 percent approval rating going into the midterms but the GOP had a 36.2 percent rating, meaning that Republicans’ marketing and spending made a difference.
“Republicans have succeeded in their strategy of blocking President Obama at every turn and then blaming him for not accomplishing his goals,” Cullen says. “Republicans opposed Obama on the stimulus; on rescuing General Motors and Chrysler; on developing a national health reform bill (though it was based on a Republican proposal); on reforming Wall Street. And the obstruction worked!”
“Even as the economy began to stabilize,” Cullen continues, “Republicans complained that the economy wasn’t improving fast enough – despite their almost unanimous opposition to the measures designed to save jobs and stimulate business.”
Cullen says instead of trying to placate elements of the GOP unwilling to compromise, Democrats must reflect an electorate that supports raising the minimum wage and protecting the right to vote, plus progressive taxation, women’s health protection, same-sex marriage, equal-pay, paid sick leave, labor rights and legalized marijuana, as polls and votes showed.
“Democrats ought to be able to make the case that they are the better choice for the working class, that Republican priorities are to benefit the rich and giant corporations at the expense of the middle class and mom-and-pop businesses.”
Republican Chris Ladd, an ex-Texan who blogs at GOPlifer.com, is critical of Republicans’ Radical Right.
“The biggest Republican victory in decades did not move the map,” he says, and “voter turnout was awful. Republicans in 2014 were the most popular girl at a party no one attended.”
Considering states leaning toward parties, Ladd sees a “Blue Wall – a block that no Republican Presidential candidate can realistically hope to win.”
Besides the West Coast, the Northeast, and much of the Upper Midwest, the bloc now arguably includes New Hampshire and Virginia, he says, adding that even Georgia “is in play.”
Ladd notes the “missing story of the midterm election” – Republican Senate candidates lost every race behind the “Blue Wall”; Democrats consolidated power in parts of the country that generate most of America’s wealth beyond energy; and “vote suppression is working remarkably well,” Ladd says, “but eventually Democrats will help people get the documentation they need. Meanwhile we kissed off minority votes for the foreseeable future.”
Further, the Senate seats up for election favored the GOP, and that’s not going to repeat soon.
“Democrats in 2014 had to defend 13 Senate seats in red or purple states,” he says. “In 2016 Republicans will be defending 24 Senate seats and at least 18 of them are likely to be competitive. Democrats will be defending one seat that might be competitive.”
As to the “Blue Wall,” Ladd breaks down the Electoral College: Strong Democratic states have 257 votes, he shows, compared to strong Republican states’ 149. Winning the Presidency requires 270 votes.
“No Republican candidate has a credible shot at the White House in 2016, and the chance of the GOP holding the Senate for longer than two years is precisely zero,” he says. “Only by sweeping all nine of the states that remain in contention AND flipping one impossibly Democratic state can a Republican candidate win the White House.
“What are the odds that a Republican candidate capable of passing muster with 2016 GOP primary voters can accomplish that feat?” he adds. “This means that the next Presidential election, and all subsequent ones until a future party realignment, will be decided in the Democratic primary.”
As for the remainder of Obama’s administration, Ladd says the Senate’s Mitch McConnell is “about to discover that he cannot persuade Republican Senators and Congressmen to cooperate on anything constructive. We’re about to get two years of intense, horrifying stupidity. If you thought Benghazi was a legitimate scandal that reveals Obama’s real plans for America then you’re an idiot, but these next two years will be a (briefly) happy period for you.
“What are we getting from Republicans?” the Republican continues. “Climate denial, theocracy, thinly veiled racism, paranoia, and Benghazi hearings. The opportunities we inherited coming out of the Reagan era are blinking out of existence one by one while we chase so-called ‘issues’ so stupid, so blindingly disconnected from our emerging needs, that our grandchildren will look back on our performance in much the same way that we see the failures of the generation that fought desegregation.”
[PICTURED: Photo from GOPlifer.com.]