Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap Among Forecasters

I have the new Senate forecast up. It features updates on virtually every race, so summarizing them here would be pointless. Just go read it. I have also made some adjustments to the House forecast, thanks to your excellent comments in the update thread form this afternoon. It would be impossible to do this forecast without you guys. Thank you!

I also wanted to highlight what I think is a very insightful comment by Charlie Cook on a generational gap among election forecasters. From his latest column:As a general rule, election-watchers under the age of 40, regardless of their party or ideology, see the contest for control of the House as fairly close. They foresee Republicans' losing at least 10 seats, but certainly no more than 20, and they put the odds of a Democratic takeover at 50-50, give or take 10 percentage points. As for the Senate, these observers tend to expect Republicans to lose three or four seats, but probably not five and certainly not the six required for Democrats to take charge.

Observers over age 40, meanwhile, tend to see a greater likelihood of sizable Republican losses. They think that the GOP could well lose more than 20 House seats and more than five Senate seats.

Most of the professionals toiling in the vineyards of the party campaign committees and watching individual races most closely are in the under-40 cohort. They tend to see control of the House as a close call and tend to be most conservative on their House seat counts. They're also the least likely to think the Senate will change hands. Invariably, these younger pros acknowledge that for Republicans this is a "very challenging election cycle," the euphemism that GOP spokesmen use to keep from saying that 2006 is shaping up as "a really bad year" for their party. Yet these younger observers focus almost exclusively on where each contest stands right now, employing a sort of political version of the literal interpretation of the Bible.

Older pros, while often one or more steps removed from the day-to-day developments in each contest, appear to read a bit more into the races, placing greater emphasis on the national political environment and what it is likely to mean for contests that are currently too close to call or for Republican incumbents with precarious leads. These relative old-timers vividly remember the midterm elections of 1994, 1986, 1982, and 1974, as well as the presidential year of 1980, when the late Speaker Tip O'Neill's adage "All politics is local" clearly didn't apply. I think that Cook is absolutely correct in what he writes here. As someone in the under-40 crowd, the only wave election I remember was 1994. I don't even remember that election very well, since I was in England during my study abroad year at that time. For me, the House has basically been static and local, with the exception of one huge landslide that I was unable to follow closely. When I was 12 years old in 1986, I did not follow congressional elections much at all.

In addition to what Cook wrote, I think there is something else fueling this generational gap. Younger people who follow politics closely are used to Republicans winning. I remember brutal Republican landslides from 1984, 1988 and 1994. I remember Republicans pulling out tight elections in 1998, 2002, and 2004. I remember outright Republican theft in 2000. In my experience, with few exceptions, Republicans have consistently won elections, while Democrats have consistently lost. For an older generation, the opposite was true--and how!--for a very, very long time. I have often thought that this difference in experience has led to a different political attitude by the older and younger generations in the Democratic Party and progressive ecosystem, where one generation views us as the natural governing party, and one does not. I think that this leads to a desire for much fiercer opposition tactics from the younger generation, as well as a desire to shake up existing infrastructure (especially advocacy and consulting infrastructure). We don't view our return to power as the natural course of things, we are convinced that the old ways have failed, and we have grown utterly paranoid of Republicans pulling out any election no matter how dire the circumstances seemed for them. Thus, in addition to the differences I just described, generally speaking we also view the 2006 situation as slightly better for Republicans than an older generation might. Most of my friends don't really believe that we will win in November, and while I am not as pessimistic as some, I am certainly not the most optimistic forecaster out there. In fact, among the professional forecasters, I think only CQ politics rates the situation as worse for Democrats than I do. I want to believe in a national wave, but there is no way I am going to let my hopes get that high. Until Election Day, I will try to stay away from a focus on national trends, and instead look at races on a district-by-district basis. Back in 2004, I used a theory known as the Incumbent Rule to predict a narrow Kerry win, but it did not pan out. Even leaving aside my own personal hopes for the moment, the last thing I want is to once again be the person who caused 250,000 people to get their hopes too high, only to se them dashed to the curb on a Wednesday morning in early November.

Tags: election forecasts, House 2006, Senate 2006 (all tags)

Comments

48 Comments

Re: Senate Forecast Update,

Another reason for pessimism as to a big wave?  Gerrymandering.  There just aren't as many swingable districts as there used to be . ..

by Adam B 2006-09-13 07:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update,

Not to mention for the younger forecasters, the last 3 elections have been 3 of the most corrupt in recent memory and things can swing in the opposite direction at the last minute for no apparent reason.

by tomanjeri 2006-09-13 08:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update,
Gary Hart: Generational issue, they don't remember what the Democratic Party stands for. JFK, FDR, etc. Losing a sense of history makes losing the path easy.
by dkmich 2006-09-14 01:44AM | 0 recs
Gerymandering overrated,

Gerrymandering is overrated, IMHO.  For the most part it concentrates Dems and spreads out R's, but it doesn't create more R's.  Consequently, this time around the R's have many more marginal seats to defend, and the Dems actually have more safe seats.  More important than gerrymandering is the tendency of the Dems, up to this year, not to seriously contest enough races, especially those more marginal R seats.

This year thanks to the cheerleading and activism from all of us, the Dems have really spread the field and are challenging many more races than in the past.  So our prospects look much better, especially in light of the deteriorating national atmosphere for the R's.

by Mimikatz 2006-09-14 09:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap

Chris, good adjustments on the House Forecast, but heres hoping you can put Kagen back to lean dem soon. Good quote from Cook too; makes me think this may be really be a great,instead of good, Novemeber. Keep up the good work man.

by Forward with Feingold 2006-09-13 07:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap

Regardless of whether we kick ass in the coming midterms or not, I'm pretty encouraged by the infrastructure building that is going on for our side.  The Right blogosphere is damn near irrelevant, while ours is thriving; Howard Dean is tending to the critical nuts-and-bolts issues of rebuilding the party; we are attracting lots of quality candidates; and we are mounting challenges in just about every race in the country.

by global yokel 2006-09-13 07:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap

True that, how many wingnuts are blogging at this time at night about how to win elections. I imagine they are talking about why it is Clinton's fault we got attacked or how Osama doesn't matter. The left is building itself up fast thru the netroots; the next decade should be good. On that note, good night.

by Forward with Feingold 2006-09-13 07:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap

Younger people who follow politics closely are used to Republicans winning. I remember brutal Republican landslides from 1984, 1988 and 1994. I remember Republicans pulling out tight elections in 1998, 2002, and 2004. In my experience, with few exceptions, Republicans have consistently won elections, while Democrats have consistently lost.

It's not just the poor track record at the polls, it's the poor track record of the polls.  It seems like the actual election results are almost always worse than all the available polling data, so it's become hard for me to be optimistic about anything less than a 10-point lead.

I thought the blogger who said his predictive rule of thumb was to always add 5% to the poll numbers of "the evil candidate" was pretty spot-on.

Dunno if this trend says something about turnout, or relative willingness to talk to pollsters, or something more sinister (not counting exit polls, where I consider discrepancies to be pretty damn fishy, especially when they're all in the same direction).

by Eli 2006-09-13 08:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap

I've just become a pessimist. Chris is right - my hopes have been dashed too many times. I don't want to start celebrating on that Tuesday night until all the results are in and there is a reason to celebrate.

I don't want to give the Republicans any extra-magical abilities for winning elections, but they do seem to come through time and again. Gerrymandering, great GOTV, firing up their base and damping down ours, and possibly finding ways to rig an election foil my desires every two years. Hmmm...I want my desires met for a change, is that selfish? It's sort of like my love life now - hey, I hope I find love with a great guy, but I'm not holding my breath. I'll only be disappointed and out of breath.

by Erin in Flagstaff 2006-09-13 08:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap

That's really only been true in the last two elections. In '98 and '00, Democrats outperformed the polls by a few % points. I can't remember if '96 showed anything ... in '02 and '04, the Democrats underperformed the polls. The GOP really did ramp up their GOTV efforts in both of those years, so that could be it ... also the Democratic base was pretty demoralized in '02.

by BriVT 2006-09-14 07:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap

The key to Gore's popular vote victory was the extremely strong GOTV effort by Democrats, especially among black Democrats.  Republicans saw a late surge in 96 that may have saved the House for them for at least the next 10 years.  The GOP class of 94 in the House is still the most numerous one for them with 31 members tracing election to 1994.  Bob Ney is the only one of them to "retire" so you have to blast the class of 1994 out with dynamite at this point.

by David Kowalski 2006-09-14 10:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap

In '96 we definately underperformed the polls.

by fladem 2006-09-14 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational

It is the assumption that they (Dems) are the natural ruling party which I think explains a lot of the conservative strategies of the Democrats. The fear of risk. The fear that change means ultra liberalism rather than changed strategy. That change will end their fiefdom. They don't react like entrepreneurs who see  that they have something to prove. They don't act like a party that understand that change is necessary to win. They react like old, decrepit aristocracy that believes that the status quo must be maintained or else the power it has will be lost. They are telling us to "eat cake." They reacted like Big Blue compared to a younger ruthless Bill Gates. That to me-- in my mind-- defines the central difference between the generations. It is one of understanding risk for the purpose of growth versus risk for the purpose of continuity. If you think of the world in terms of growth, then you re below forty no matter what age you are. If you think of risk as continuity for the natural majority that you still imagine exists (but-for those pesky crazy ultra liberals) then you react like the over forty crowd. We live in changed times. The perception of the over 40 is that we do not.

by bruh21 2006-09-13 08:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational

Although there are some Big Blue aspects to the old, established Dem DC consultants,  it's the Republicans who want to suckle the Big Teat of Government.  The notion that Republicans are entreprenurial is ludicrous.  Dick Cheney as a venture capitalist or a programmer...?!  Absurd.  Rummy as a sole proprietor?  Ridiculous.

The stunning development for the Dem's is the high quality of the Congressional candidates.  Howie Klein has done a superlative job of highlighting individual Dem Congressional candidates; consistently, the qualifications, experience, and knowledge in this group are astounding.  

Howard Dean's fearless, frank approach has probably helped some potential candidates decide to run for office.  His 'smarts' and integrity have helped attract extremely qualified candidates.  If even half the Dems are elected, the collective IQ of the US Congress will triple.  

This just might be the election where instead of having to choose between Dumb and Dumber, we actually get a choice between Wingnut Incompetence and Rational Problem Solvers.  

I realize that handicapping is a challenge, but I think it's still early for the election.  I expect Osama to be caught in late October (or at the very least, to release a new video).   However, another October Surprise could very likely backfire on the Republicans; Bu$hCo has cried 'wolf' one too many times.  My friends are already making droll remarks, and may soon be placing bets,  about what form the October Surprise of 2006 will take.  

------------------------
Also, sorry to go off-topic here, but if you haven't yet clicked on the Allstate ad, you ought to, b/c I'm certain it was created using Flex. I've been waiting to see ads like this on US websites, and I have to hand it to Allstate for putting some ad dollars on the MyDD website AND ALSO for using Flex in their ads.  I'd swoon if Chris Bowers was using Flex as the basis for a map of the Congressional Disticts, with XML feeds to provide more info about specific candidates.  I don't work for Allstate, but that ad link is a really fine use of Flex. (More about Flex at:  http://www.adobe.com/products/flex/).  

by readerOfTeaLeaves 2006-09-13 10:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational

most of what you wrote has very little to with my point- I am talking about what the Democrats are doing- not what the Republicans are doing.

by bruh21 2006-09-14 07:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational

I think this is true of the institutional Dems, but there are plenty of "older" activists (like myself) who have become energized since the 2002 election and the outbreak of the Iraq War.  We want the Dem Party to be confrontational as much as younger folks, and are now in a position to put our money where our mouths are.  This started with Dean and the 2004 races, but has continued into this race as well.  

Otherwise I think Chris is right on the mark.

by Mimikatz 2006-09-14 09:12AM | 0 recs
redistricting tilts the scale to the GOP

The 1994 landslide was in part a delayed reaction to the redistricting post-1990. Because Poppy Bush's presidency was such a disaster, the Dems did not pay the price in the Congressional elections of 1992, but by 1994 we were killed by all the new suburban-dominated districts. Our voters were more concentrated in heavily Democratic urban districts.

My own Congressman, Neal Smith, is a good example of how this worked. He was first elected in 1958 and was a classic, old-fashioned, pork-bringing-home, not-very-liberal entrenched House Democrat. People thought this guy could never lose. He represented the county including Des Moines and most of the surrounding counties.

After 1990, when Iowa lost a House seat, his district was redrawn. he no longer represented heavily union Jasper County to the east or Story County (site of Iowa State University) to the north. He got a bunch of counties in SW Iowa he'd never represented before and hadn't brought federal dollars to. He was dominant enough to win in 1992 anyway.

However, in 1994 Smith had a strong challenger who ran a smart campaign. He didn't lose by much, and he certainly would have pulled it out (despite poor Democratic GOTV and Clinton's unpopularity) if he'd still been able to lean on Jasper or Story counties.

The difference between 1994 and now is that the gerrymandering favors the majority party, not the challenging party. The Republicans had the wind at their backs.

by desmoinesdem 2006-09-13 08:24PM | 0 recs
Re: redistricting tilts the scale to the GOP

You hit a very important point. Minority-Majority redistricting has been a disaster for the Democratic Party. Starting in the 1990s these districts basically created several more opportunities for the Republicans.

These districts often make little sense geopolitically. In fact they rarely make sense excpet that they have one thing in common: race. These districts look like bizzare parasites, amoebas, intenstines, and other weird shapes. They often go on for hundreds of miles, from one end of a state to another, taking in every black or minority precinct even though they may have no other geopolitical interest in common except for race.

A good state to look at for an example of this is Florida. Democratic voters are squeezed into a handful of minority-majority districts. For example, in the Panhandle, the strongly Democratic areas that are heavily black are thrown into the 2nd district represented by Allen Boyd. This turns the rest of the districts into heavily Republican dominated strongholds.

FL-3 belongs to Corrine Brown. It basically snakes down from Jacksonville to Orlando via Gainesville, taking every black and Democratic precinct north of south Florida into one district. This, in turn, renders the other Jacksonville and Orlando-based districts into heavily white Republican strongholds. Ginnie Brown-Waite was able to take the 5th from Karen Thurman because she lost Gainesville to Brown. Ric Keller of Orlando ends up with a more favorable district. Thus perhaps 2 or 3 competetive districts disappear and become GOP strongholds.

In the Tampa area the 11th district held by Jim Davis takes in every minority precint in the area. As a result the other Hillsborough County based districts turn heavily Republican. The 11th also takes out the heaivly Democratic parts of Pinnellas County, leaving Bill Young with a distirct that, while still marginal and competetive, is somewhat favorable to him. Thus in this area maybe one or two districts that might be more competetive for Democrats are heavily Republican.

The map then turns to South Florida. Kendrick Meek and Alcee Hastings basically take every black precinct in Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade counties. Alcee Hastings also takes the rural parts of South Florida most friendly to the Democrats. Meanwhile, Robert Wexler and Debbie Wasserman-Schulz take in every friendly Democratic retiree, Jewish precinct in Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade counties.

By conceeding the 17th, 19th, 20th, and 23rd districts to the Democrats, Mark Foley, Clay Shaw, the Diaz-Balart brothers, and Ilena Ros-Lehtinen end up with very favorable districts. In fact the 25th district is very illogical. It connects Collier County, which is more Naples-centered to Homestead, Culter Ridge, and Naranja in Dade County. This district has nothing in common with each other.

Thus a state that voted 52%-47% for Bush in 2004 is heavily dominated by Republicans in its Congressional delegation. This is why 18 out of the 25 districts in Florida belong to the Republicans.

by jiacinto 2006-09-13 10:21PM | 0 recs
Re: redistricting tilts the scale to the GOP

This is a great comment about Florida. The 2000 redistricting was a work of art from the GOP perspective.

Before 2000 I had a Democratic Congressman (Davis)and a Democratic State House member. I know have both a GOP House member and a GOP State House member.   Davis's new district is so Democratic it will not be seriously contested.  My new House district FL-12 - is represented by Adam Putman - who will be there forever.  

by fladem 2006-09-14 05:50AM | 0 recs
true, but not just majority-minority districts

Iowa is something like 96 percent white. Even my CD, IA-03, which has the most minority voters, is nothing close to majority-minority. Your point stands--just wanted to clarify that this kind of gerrymandering can work against Dems even in states without large minority populations.

by desmoinesdem 2006-09-14 06:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap

This generation gap theory is quite too. Silent and Boomer forecasters seem to think the Democrats have it locked up. Gen-X and Millennial forecasters are cautious and conservative with their projections. Not because they are more Republican, certainly not in the case of Millennials, but because they have grown up with more GOP than Dem victories. As a Millennial, I can attest that I am much more of a cautious forecaster because of my experiences than my Boomer parents.

by Ament Stone of California 2006-09-13 08:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap

Nice to see there is someone else who has read Strauss and Howe.

by Airpower 2006-09-14 11:32AM | 0 recs
chuckle

"...the last thing I want is to once again be the person who caused 250,000 people to get their hopes too high..."

Someone has got to do that-- it's a tradition around here!  Maybe Stoller...

by Jerome Armstrong 2006-09-13 08:52PM | 0 recs
Hey, I'm old enough...

I remember those "wave" elections.

I think you are right to be a little pessimistic.  Since the subject has been broached, I'll weigh in, on the pessimistic side.

There is a big difference between 1992 and 1980.  Organization.  We HAVE increased our organizational abilities, and we HAVE increased the size of our megaphone, not just through the Internet, but through small inroads with the media.  That happened in the other wave years, as well.  But the difference lies in the TYPE of organization, and this is what makes me pessimistic.

The one big problem with the net roots, and a lot of the opposition to Bush, is how little actual real-world action there is.  Let me give an example.  In 2004, Rove mobilized, to great effect, church groups around the nation.  We can argue all we want about how they did it and if it's fair, but let's just think about the nature of churches.  People that go to church actually DO something once a week.  They know other people by face and name.  They are used to being encouraged to participate or contribute to fairs or cookie-bakes or funerals or weddings.  For these people, the boundary between thought and coordinated action is not that huge.

The Democrats used to have a similar activated real-world-based organizational structured to fall back on: the unions.  Union members participate in the real world in an organized way.  Again, the barrier between thought and coordinated action is a small one.

But for people that watch Keith Olbermann, for people that hang out on the blogs, etc...  We are all very motivated, but there are not the same driving forces to push people into doing something.  We drive up opinion polls, certainly.  And we do have a huge effect on votes.  But we don't have the same organization that reaches into people's lives and can shame and push them to do something that is not part of the daily routine.

And that is what makes me pessimistic.  I think the Republicans still dominate the ground game.  With as much passion and motivation as we brought to bear in 2004, we still lost, and it wasn't because of Diebold (although I think that was an important part of it.)  The Republicans had voters that stood to lose face or be nagged or to be shamed if they didn't go to the polls with their family and friends.  We don't have that.

There is a huge gap here, which we can fill, over the course of time, but it is going to take some evolution in the Democratic roots.  Part of filling that gap is to replace the net-roots with real face-to-face organizations, where people become obligated to meet each other, not just communicate through anonymous names, and to develop a sense of tribal identity and group motivation.  I liked how that worked out in Connecticut, for instance, with FDL and the way they got people to drive out to Connecticut and participate.  

Active real-world participation, of any form, is a huge step forward.  Many people aren't willing to take that extra step.  The Republicans know how to get people to cross that boundary, but we don't have the same kinds of organs to match them.  Not yet.

by Dumbo 2006-09-13 09:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Hey, I'm old enough...

Good point.  The electorate skews older than the population, too.  Older people vote by habit.  For the most part younger people don't.  New forms of organizing are needed to motivate younger voter who, after all, are going to be the ones to suffer because of things like the burgeoning debt and global warming.

by Mimikatz 2006-09-14 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Hey, I'm old enough...

What do you think of the idea to make registering to vote a requirement for graduation from high school as well as for enrolling in a public college/university and/or receiving financial aid?

Once that voting habit starts, it continues for life.

by Airpower 2006-09-14 10:56AM | 0 recs
The House in '94

One of the key reasons for the 1994 House results was the banking scandal.  In all, 350 members of Congress were implicated and 77 chose not to even run for reelection.  So the door was wide open for a huge swing, and that's what happened, with guys like Dan Rostenkowski and Speaker Tom Foley losing, and a total of 34 incumbent Dems going down.  That year the Republicans picked up 54 seats. Though the scandal of the '90s seems quaint by today's standards, the Republicans then did a better job of tainting the Dems than today's Dems are doing to the Republicans.  But those were different times back then.   I don't see the Dems picking up anything like 54 seats, but they don't have to.  The mood certainly seems like it's a time for change.  The corruption scandals are just one of many weapons in the Dems' bag this year.  I think Iraq is the biggest issue, and a winner, if the Dems play it right.  

All that said, the campaigns have just begun.  Anyone who thinks the Dems have a lock on taking back the House is crazy.  The Republicans will do virtually anything to retain power.  It's gonna be a helluva fight.  

by JJF 2006-09-13 10:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap
for me, I am optimistic. More optimistic than you. But, then, I don't have much faith in the machines and I think Cleland, Mondale, and Kerry were robbed. So, in the end I am probably less optimistic.
by BooMan 2006-09-13 10:33PM | 0 recs
right on

I'm just getting back from Drinking Liberally Oakland (one beer...lol) where I had an interesting conversation with fellow blogger Matt Ortega that dovetails with many of your points, Chris.

Basically, my take is that this election is missing an ingredient we need to find RIGHT NOW.  And that ingredient is precisely a level of backbone, outrage and focus on the GOP record embodied personally by their candidates that Democrats have failed to produce in election after election.

We need to make a visceral connection with the voters about the price of this GOP Congress.  We need to make this personal. We need to get real.

Matt spoke convincingly about the anti-Allen Vote vets ad on body armor. That's the kind of thing that sinks in. That piece pulls no punches. That is EXACTLY what is called for.

If this election is simply base against base.  Mid-term voters versus mid-term voters.  We change nothing.

We Democrats need to take our chips and put them ALL on a simple, direct message: it's time for America to get real.  

To convey that message we need to get real ourselves.  We can't pussy-foot around.

Let me put it this way, if the Republicans are going to spend another election season attacking Democrats as if we are "in bed with terrorists" then Democrats sure as hell better stand up and start attacking Republican candidates with the big artillery.

It's time to get real.

We Democrats need to connect with folks who eat breakfast at McDonalds.  That VoteVets ad does that.

That's precisely where we need to be right now.

by kid oakland 2006-09-13 11:10PM | 0 recs
Re: right on

I often hear that "the Democrats need to get tough".  That they need to stop "pussyfooting around"

I'll be honest - I really don't know at bottom what this means.  What is the message that Democratic candidate should be conveying?  Is it that they should just be meaner?  Or is it aren't ideological enough?

by fladem 2006-09-14 06:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update

Gerrymandering, 9/11, Republican GOTV.

I'm in my 40s but I'd be a fool not to incorporate those aspects into the handicapping. I'm hoping the second one no longer works against us but no doubt #1 and #3 are bigtime players.

This is nothing like '74. I'm old enough to remember Watergate. My family went to Europe that summer and the locals in every country would literally laugh at Nixon, when they found out we were American. "Could not happen here." Bush may be hated worldwide but he is not considered a crooked disgrace by members of his own party. I was in junior high with a civics teacher who had supported McGovern, and still had a McGovern sticker on his Volkswagen. Throughout the '73- '74 school year he talked about Democrats being a cinch to win big in the '74 elections and also the '76 presidency.

'94 has already been convered well, in terms of the House banking scandal and '90s redistricting. And IMO one other aspect is seldom emphasized. Democrats were so relieved to have finally won the presidency in '92 after three failures that a midterm was hardly a priority. I remember sensing that all year. It seemed like an exhibition season a year after winning the Super Bowl. A girl I went to college with married a right winger in '91 and by early '93 with the gays in the military issue she was already anti-Clinton and talking about '94. In college she didn't give a damn about politics, so her mood in early '93 told me what we were facing. I don't think the Democratic party as a whole realized it.

This is closest to '86, a year we won almost all the close races. Can we do it again? I was interested in the comment saying our House nominees are excellent. That's very intriguing, since I've been concerned our focus is primarily vote-against, a strategy that is a natural regulator. We should always nominate someone who we believe can pull 50+% regardless of the opponent. Like Jon Tester. I'd be confident with him against any Republican in that state. If we have vote-for House candidates perhaps we can pull this off. Here in Nevada it's certainly the case, with Tessa Hafen and Jill Derby far superior to anything Democrats have fielded in recent cycles.

BTW, the comment about Republicans with the hand-on application via churches, etc. was one of the most astute and relevant I've read this cycle. On DU there is ranting and raving but the threads asking, "what are you doing to help Democrats win?" are greeted by a handful of posts. Rove was an overrated fraud in 2000 but once he got the miracle reprieve he took full advantage in terms of GOTV.

by jagakid 2006-09-14 12:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap

Chris,

As someone who is "over 40" (if just by a couple of years), I can certainly relate to Cook's interesting analysis, from a point of view that I'd actually never thought much about until you pointed it out. But it makes a lot of sense to me now that I think about it.

My first political memories are from the early 70's (ok, so I was a political nerd even as a kid). Watergate and the tail end of Vietnam to be precise. These were not good times for Republicans, and while the Democratic resurgence that took place in the mid-70's turned out to be short-lived (which older and more experienced political observers could have predicted), to me, it seemed like Dems were on top, and were going to stay there for a long time (little did I know...). Plus, the 60's and their progressive spirit were still in the air, which aligned with Dem values and policies. And so my earliest memories of politics were of Dems (and their beliefs) being on top, not Repubs. And I have always seen this as being the natural order of things (even if it hasn't been the actual one for quite some time).

When Reagan won, I viewed it as a fluke that would soon be corrected. And even when it became clear that it was not, I continued to believe that Dems would retake their rightful place at the center and top of US politics (which of course they continued to do in the house under O'Neill). Then came along Clinton to confirm my beliefs--the Dems were BACK! But then, alas and of course, came Gingrich and the Repubs of '94, and the Clinton scandals, and the impeachment, and Bush v. Gore, and 9/11, and '02 and '04. These were not good years for my faith in Dems (it was like being a Mets fan as anyone who is or was one knows). It began to slip. But at least I had the memory of what once was to keep me going. And when Bush and the GOP began to overreach and prove their incompetence, my faith began to return, well before it became fashionable to openly believe in a Dem comeback.

However, for your generation (actually not that much younger than mine, but younger enough to make all the difference), there were no such personal memories of Dems being on top and not under the thumb of Repubs. Even the Clinton honeymoon was too short-lived and contentious to compare to the mid-70's, when Dems were truly if briefly dominant. So I can completely understand the stronger sense of pessimism, caution, even cynicism among people much younger than me. I'd probably feel the same way. One's outlook on things is shaped to a large extent by one's experiences with these things during one's formative years. Mine was much more positive than yours.

This helps explain why I often seem to come across a sense of disillusionment, dejection, resignation and cynicism among people much younger than me, especially online. I keep coming across younger people who seem convinced that no matter what, Repubs will win, and there's little to nothing that can be done to change this. And I keep wondering why the extreme pessimism and cynicism bordering on nihilism. Now I understand. You guys were politically "battered" when quite young, and are used to Repub bullies being in charge, and Dems meekly acquiescing.

So take heart. Dems were on top once--for a LONG time--and will be again, I believe. Things turn around eventually. The Repubs were never meant to stay on top forever. Not only are they not America's natural majority party, but they've done such a horrible job of running the country that it's almost a foregone conclusion, as I see it, that they'll go back to being the minority fairly soon. The only reason that they were able to stay on top for so long was because Dems were in serious decline and unable to successfully transform a way past its prime and rapidly fading New Deal-based party into whatever came next. Clinton and the DLC tried, but their business-based platform was simply not enough to revive the party. Without a true populist, progressive resurgence, the party was doomed to remain in the minority.

Well, this is finally happening, and I truly believe that we're on the verge of a new era in American politics, with Dems on the ascendance once again, and Repubs in decline. (I almost feel sorry for them as they'll be forced to fight it out between fundamentalists, neocons, moderates and fiscal conservatives, but not really--they deserve their coming years of wandering in the political wilderness, and it'll do them good in the end). It might not quite be realized this election cycle, but I think that the stage is set for us to be firmly in charge by '08 or '10, or '12 at the latest.

Of course, it could just be the 14 year old me talking. And I know I shouldn't be listening to him. Now where was that Supertramp album...

by kovie 2006-09-14 01:06AM | 0 recs
over 40

I believed with all my heart that there was a political pendulum that swung back and forth between the GOP and DEMs.  

I seemed to me that we would at the very least always maintain a balance of powers, ie, when we had a GOP prez then at least one house of congress would go blue.

The complete lock on nat'l gov't by the GOP was beyond my imagination.

by aiko 2006-09-14 05:12AM | 0 recs
Re: over 40

The political pendulum does not swing "back and forth".  It goes in a circle, and it takes 80 to 90 years to complete one cycle.  See "Generations:  The History of America's Future From 1584 to 2069" by Bill Strauss and Neil Howe, Quill Press, 1990.  That book will open your eyes.  Everything that is happening today aligns with that book.

by Airpower 2006-09-14 11:02AM | 0 recs
also over 40

I'm probably the same age as you.

But I agree with the original post. As far as I can tell, Democrats are not as skilled in winning as Republicans. Every national election since I've been voting (1980) has left me wondering, "how come democrats are so inept?"

And - what was missing from the original analysis - our media now is terrible, worse than in the mid-70s. Most Americans are likely less well informed now than then.

by mightymouse 2006-09-14 06:52AM | 0 recs
way over 40: consider the anti-Newt

For you younger folks, the major factor media-wise: No Newt.

In most of those landslides, there was a national figure the movement could resolve around. He (always he) embodied or emboldened the movement.  Like Newt in '94 or the anti-Newt in '72, you need either a central figure to embody your cause in the media (Newt) or a central devil to embolden your followers (McGovern).

Since you have no central leader (no Newt), you're going to have to center your effort on an anti-Newt, and oh brother do you have a beauty this cycle!  The advice of so many is right on target: tie every republican to Bush! Make him the anti-Newt who emboldens your candidates and followers.  That's your key.

Oh, and because of Gerry, you'll need a hell of a ground game.  But you have it out there waiting, if you just connect to it--as Dean is trying to do.  Give Dean lots of support on election day.

It'll be damn hard work (it always is), but you've got the ingredients to make it happen big time. Just stay focused, and make history again.

by traveler 2006-09-14 08:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update

Count me a pessimist as well. I agree with Dumbo that the GOP ground game may ultimately prevail. (Chris Cilizza delves into its effectiveness in today's "Fix" by analyzing Senator Chafee's primary win.)

Our team? We have nothing comparable.

I wish the netroots spent more of its considerable energy and resources in devising ways to turn out real voters to the polls and less time bashing the television ads of centrist Democrats like Harold Ford, who have to modify their tactics in order to get elected in deeply red states. I see no concrete evidence that the progressives know how to speak to swing voters, let alone capture their imaginations enough to compel them to vote our way. While I'm totally down with on-line diatribes against Joe Lieberman and ABC, I'm afraid that meanwhile the GOP is stealthily honing its singular ability to get its people to the polls.

So what about it, Matt & Co.? Less centrist- bashing, more unity and targeted strategizing to win in November?

by BrklynDad 2006-09-14 04:34AM | 0 recs
Maryland

1.  Steele will and can not win and you should already know that.

2. The turnout was normal.  MD turnout of 500,000 may have been high for other states but that is a fairly common number for contested primary.  See 2002 and 1998.

by aiko 2006-09-14 05:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap

As a well-over-40 guy, I can remember not only the heydays of Democratic control of Congress, but also as a young man something of the way congressional Republicans acted 'way back when when they were in the minority. I am struck by many similarities in party perceptions and behavior when comparing then to now -- plus two big differences.

Republicans in the minority were an aggressive opposition party. They got good press daily. They conveyed a clear message. In today's parlance, the G.O.P. of yesteryear was just as skilled then as it is today in "framing the issue", staying on message, and working the press.

Congressional Democrats by contrast almost always were fractured and spoke with too many irreconciable inconsistencies, even when in the majority and even with a Democrat in the White House. In some ways, it often seemed the congressional Democrats were more contentious  against a sitting Democratic president than a sitting Republican president. The only surcease in that was during the first year or so of the LBJ administration, after Kennedy's assassination and before the war in Vietnam started to show on the public's radar screen.

I take it from Will Rogers' famous line ("I'm not a member of any organized political party -- I'm a Democrat") that this had been the case for many decades before my time.  

Of course, those were the days when the Democratic majority depended on a coalition of Southern incumbents (mostly racist, populist, and in foreign affairs liberal) and Northern liberals. But that doesn't qualify as much of a difference.  Today, a Democratic majority depends on a coalition of Northern liberals, West coast environmentalists, and Southern religious blacks.

In days of yore, Republicans were essentially perceived by the public as the "pro-business" and "anti-communist" and "isolationist" party; Democrats as the "working man's" party and the party of "eggheads". (Ironically, given today's situation, every so often a national Republican would accuse Democrats of being "the war party" -- the evidence being who was in the White when we entered W.W. I, W.W. II, and the Korean War.)

I don't see any telling differences in any of that with today.

The first thing that has changed is, We The People. There was a day when Americans were proud to consider themselves a "working person." Now, they all want to fantacize about striking it rich in their 401k's or the real estate market. (With the spendthrift ways of the Bush administration, a lot of people are in for a very rude awkening). We all know the anecdotal evidence -- the disability client driving away from his lawyer's office with a Vote Reagan sticker visible on his bumper; the fellow facing bankruptcy who votes for the Senator who supportss 'reforming' bankruptcy, etc. etc.  

Businessmen (and by association Republicans) in the late '50s and '60s were widely considered slightly unsavory -- just interested in money, not at all concerned about the public weal. Now, despite Enron and all the rest -- ethical scandals more outrageous than anything even Warren Harding could dream of, much less administrations in the '60s, '70s, and '80s -- the public yawns or, worse, secretly thinks His only crime was getting caught.  How stupid of him.  

For this, I largely blame, in order --

... Television and its dumbing-down of our citizens; and

... the utter failure of past Democratic administrations and Democratic congresses to set aright the devastating NLRA amendments and anti-labor rulings which the Republicans manipulated over two decades to reduce the power of unions. It's amazing, really, that the Democrats never bothered when in power to shore up and enhance the one sure base that united Northern and Southern branches of the party: labor.

The second thing that's changed is that all the stuffing seems to have been torn out of the congressional Democrats with very few exceptions (Russ Feingold chief among them, and of course the late Paul Wellstone).  They still speak with many cacaphonous voices and can't seem to agree on the time of day, but now all those voices are saying nothing coherent (e.g. "The president needs a plan for Iraq, but I'm not saying we should pull out or commit more troops") and they whine far too much ("He shouldn't be calling us names on the anniversary of 9-11"). In a word, the Demcorats are just as incompetent in the role of an opposition party as Bush and the Republicans are at running the government.  

For this, I largely blame three things --

... the degraded state of journalism (that's "journalism", not "television" -- being over 40, I know there is supposed to be a difference); and

... what is known as the "Beltway mentality." Too many once-upon-a-time journalists (Bob Woodward, Cokie Roberts, Juan  Williams, etc. etc.) have sold their souls to climb the Fox ladder to stardom; and

... the particular Democrats we have sent to Washington. It's not that they are all millionaires (John Corzine was developing well enough) or want to be millionaires, it's that most of them just don't seem very different in character from the Republicans they want to replace. All of them spend more time preening, seeking the adoration of the same tight little circle of Georgetown social doyens, and thinking about how to keep their jobs than they do working for the people who sent them there.

Win or lose this November, the Democratic party needs to be thoroughly reformed and all of the self-centered putzes (think Lieberman) purged. Otherwise, the best we can hope for is a perpetual see-saw where Republicans and Democrats trade back and forth ten or fewer House seats every two years, the leadership included. The worst is a long half century or more out in the cold -- similar to the Robber Baron era after Reconstruction through the first third of the 20th century (1876-1932).

by JohnB 2006-09-14 05:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap

I've been reading political blogs now for about one year, and techie blogs for about 3.  This comment is one of the most insightful that I have ever read.

I think that much of the insight in this comment  is related to larger social and economic shifts that have occurred post-WWII, which translate into 'cohort analysis.'  I think this post is really prophetic, as well as insightful.  

A few anecdotes:   I grew up eating meals cooked by a stay-at-home mom; however, many people that I've worked with grew up as latchkey kids making microwave meals, looking out for themselves (and siblings) in apartment complexes, and negotiating holiday visits among umpteen parents.  Their employment relies on moving from company to company, or job to job.  They are employed as individuals, on contract, for specific periods.  They often have to cover their own medical.  They view unions as a bunch of corrupt, uneducated, Mafia-infiltrated thugs.  Their idea of collective action is somewhat foreign -- UNLESS it is related to 'lifestyle' issues (gay marriage, taxation, environment).

In the dot-com era, quite a few made phenomenal sums of money in a very short time.  It was mostly Monopoly Money, but for awhile they looked filthy rich and spent like madmen.  Others have made fortunes in real estate (and with tax revisions, they continue to get ever-richer).  The boom-and-bust mentality is part of the psyche these voters.

Sometime in the early 1980s, government became more about 'telling the world and my friends that I am a moral person' than about accomplishing things.  Government became confused with soap opera.  

I was raised by people who grew up in the Depression, who had a very strong sense of public purpose and community.  Most of them grew up spending a great deal of time outdoors, and TV was NOT a part of their childhoods.  They had to grow food; they  understood hunger.

I suspect there is some factor related to childhood environment playing into current politics -- why is it that Addington, Rove, Bush, all these neocons grew up in suburbs?  I doubt they ever even planted a seed in dirt.  These guys seem to believe that because they can use cameras, lighting, and buy ad time, they somehow 'create' reality.  Their politics is delusional;  their solution to Katrina would be one giant Photoshopped re-play.  

One of the shifts that I've observed (serving on committees, and also reading news) is that perceptions about the ROLE AND FUNCTION of government seemed to shift.

In my childhood, government was about building dams, building roads, building schools... lots of good work happened and all of it was focused on making life better.  Politics was about getting shit done, rather than lecturing someone about morality.  Then in the late 1970s, post-gas crisis, something happened...

People today don't seem to link politics with governance. Politics is one more 'entertainment' -- Arnold Schwartenegger can drive a Hummer and also sign a Clean Air law; people don't see that as dissonant, I guess.   Apparently, a celebrity is a celebrity is a celebrity.  Some celebrities are political; others are Hollywood; some Hollywood celebrities are political; some politicians are Hollywood... the original mash-up, if you will.  And the highly paid 'journalists' became more like gossip columnists.  Politicians come and go, but Cokie is always there for us, 24/7.  And they love to share gossip, like identities of CIA agents.  Sheesh.

The Dems seem to still have a sense that politics is about getting shit done; the Republicans seem to think it's about telling the world you're a moral, good person.  I really think that this post starts to identify a huge gap between the way that Dems and Republicans even conceptualize politics, its purpose, its role in the world, or what it takes to do it well.

I like getting shit done. For which reason, I'd sure like the Dems to start talking specifics about what in hell is actually worth my tax dollars, what they're going to deliver, and how they plan to get it done.  And how they're going to be accountable.

by readerOfTeaLeaves 2006-09-14 10:30AM | 0 recs
My Generation

My first election was 1980.  Well I remember the parade of liberal Democratic Senators who fell that night.

I think I probably differ in two respects from the under 30 crowd:

  1.  I am use to larger changes in elections than the under 30 crowd.  In particular - I am used to the Senate springing surprises.  No one saw the GOP takeover in 80 coming, and most didn't think the GOP in '82 would be able to fight the Dems to a draw.  
  2.  The story of the last 25 years has been the story of Congress coming to mirror the results in Presidential elections.  In 1989 I remember looking at a map of house districts - the Democratic majority was really based on holding most of the southern seats. I remember thinking at the time this couldn't last, and it didn't.

For the Democratic Party the challenge is to turn the political map into a mirror of the 1900 Congressional Map - when the GOP held all of the northern seats.  This is in the process of happening - bit will take time.  Consider New England.  Right the GOP holds 5 seats they have no business holding.  A number of these seats are really based on political dynasties (Chafee in RI, Sununu in NH for example).  Eventually they will flip Democratic.  When they do we will get our majority back.

by fladem 2006-09-14 06:03AM | 0 recs
Extended football analogy time

Yes, it is possible to seize the momentum in the second quarter and run up 35 points.  But, it doesn't happen often, and it usually happns by throwing the ball too much.

Good teams run the ball and play defense.

In football terms, the Republicans have the mark of a good football team.  They hold onto the ball (poblic opinion) and play defense (fight like a cornered animal, actually).  The avoid anything too flashy unless it is absolutely necessary (brutalizing McCain) or the opponent just leaves it so wide open ("I voted for it before I voted against it".) you just have to punish them for it.  The Republicans know that consistent winners can be happy winning by a field goal (prez 2000, 2004).

Democrats are slowly learning.  

Football fans will remember the days when all the good teams were in the NFC.  The NFC squads played smash mouth football.  Eventually, in the mid-90s, the AFC teams caught on.  And now, all the good teams are in the AFC.

It takes a little while for losers to change their approach to the game.  You saw the outlines of that as the Dean campaign came along.  More and more since, including a few frightening surprises such as Lamont's win.

This is how movement conservatives came to power.  

As disgusting as the naked power approach is, progressives are accepting it as a necessary evil.

On the upside, at least the left thinks the government should do something.  It gives them a leg up on not committing the same failures as the right has.

by jcjcjc 2006-09-14 06:43AM | 0 recs
The coming tide

Sheesh...

I guess someone has to speak for the optimists ;-)

I was in college in 1994 - I voted, but certainly was no activist, just what you'd call a reliable democratic voter (though -- '94 was the last Republican I voted for any office --- Dick Lugar).  I clearly remember a Chicago Tribune headline near election eve "Dems Nervous; Republicans Confidant" as voters headed to the polls.  I remember talking with a friend at the student union - scoffing at the notion that the Republicans could win the House.... but in my gut, feeling a bit nervous.

I understand the power of incumbency.  I understand that we've had a decade of ferocious gerrymandering.  I understand the will and ability of the Republicans to leave no dirty trick unused, leave no underhanded tactic behind.

I really don't want to come off as a Pollyanna -- but ultimately, I do have faith in the American people.  You can fool them for a while - but you simply cannot keep fooling them forever.   The inexorable march of American society has been leftward.   From slavery to universal suffrage, from worker safety to environmental concerns, from Jim Crow to Title IX -- over the broad canvas of the development of American society, we've trended towards increased liberalization of our policies and culture.  Occasionally - we've moved too fast for society, and seen temporary backlashes... but always - there comes a breaking point.  

I honestly do believe we've hit that point again.   In Illinois - a recent Trib poll showed the widest gap between self-identified "Democrats" and "Republicans" (IL has no party registration) in the 16 years they've conducted the poll - and the best Dem number in a decade.   In Kansas - we've seen an exodus of Republican leaders to the other side of the aisle as the Republican state party becomes increasingly shrill and extremist.  I think we're seeing the seeds of a "blue West" being sown in places like Montana, Colorado, and elsewhere.  The national tide signs are everywhere, I believe.   That great, amorphous middle is unwilling to keep following Norquist, Rove, Reed, and Dobson any further right.  

It's the main reason why I believe so strongly in the 50 state strategy - and will argue till I'm hoarse with any Democrat that scoffs at setting up shop in the reddest of red areas.   Those investment may not all pay off this cycle - in fact, few of them will so soon.  

Gay bashing is loosing steam - just like Asian bashing in the late 19th century, the Southern strategy generations later, etc.   The Thousand Year Reic... err... Right that Delay and company dreamed of is about to be revealed as a decade long blip - and a blip that ran on fumes for longer than it should have for  two big reasons:  1)Democratic inability to recognize the Republicans were no longer playing the same game and 2)the uncertainty of a devastating terrorist attack and Republican politicization of it.  

I'd like to think the "blogosphere" had a big role in reversing the first; I think time and Republican incompetence has whittled away #2.

Two months out -- I'm certainly not sitting here just waiting for the tide to come and I, like many others, are committed to pounding pavement, manning the phones, and fighting every lie and distortion, etc... but that doesn't change my opinion that I firmly believe I can see the tide coming.

by zonk 2006-09-14 06:52AM | 0 recs
Re: foundation

All of these assessments and commentaries assume a fair vote count.

by Nezua Limon Xoloquinta Jonez 2006-09-14 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap
As a 60-something political warhorse, I believe we need to pay attention not only to the generation gap, real as it is, but to a host of worrisome threats on the horizon. A good strategy would be for all of us to take off our rose-colored glasses as well as our black tinted ones and recognize that the upcoming elections are going to be a pitched battle waged one electoral district at a time. Let's not get distracted by the results of national public opinion polls on the grandiose issues and personalities of the day, which are far removed from the political realities on the ground and the political machinations of partisan operatives on all sides.

Over the past 30 years, every conceivable effort has been made to rig our democracy so that the will of the people cannot triumph over those of special interests and professional politicians who do their bidding. Yet despite these assaults, progressive candidates can win and we can restore popular sovereignty to America -- but only if we keep our eye on the ball and join our forces to fight the good fight, precinct by precinct.

Yes, it's true that the large majority of Americans of all political stripes have had enough. And astoundingly courageous progressive candidates are surfacing in the most inclimate terrains. But the popular will is going to be countermanded at every turn by gerrymandered districts, monied special interests, looming quirks of the electoral college and every conceivable type of propaganda, demagoguery and vote suppression, from purged voting lists to voter ID requirements and rigged e-voting machines. (Princeton University engineers have just demonstrated that Diebold e-voting machines found all over the country can be hacked into in a matter of minutes. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marty-kapl an/how-to-hack-a-diebold-iv_b_29414.html )

The way I see the 2006 and 2008 elections, the best and the worst is yet to come. The results will be determined by our individual and collective efforts in our own communities under the inspirational umbrella of the progressive movement.

by Nancy Bordier 2006-09-14 11:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Senate Forecast Update, and a Generational Gap

This is an important diary.

Actually, the main split is between people who are over 45 (Boomers) and those who are 45 and younger (Gen X).  There is another split between those who are 25 and over (Gen X) and those who are 24 and under (Millennial).  And there is a third split between those who are 64 and over (Silent) and 63 and under (Boomers).  Each generation has had completely different experiences that result in completely different views of life and expectations.  

The generational groupings come from Bill Struass and Neil Howe, who have written a few books about this.  The most important is: "Generations:  The History of America's Future From 1584 to 2069".  If I had my way, I would make it the standard American history textbook in every high school.  Another good book of theirs is "13th Gen:  Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail?".  "Generations" clearly lays out what is going on and I recommend it to everyone.  But please wait until after November.  We have an election to win.

As a disgusted Boomer, I am enjoying the inroads being made by Gen X and I eagerly await the arrival of more Millennials.  

Typically in history, each generation fails to see the one behind it coming.  Each following generation usually makes their presence known in a landslide election:
1930 - Lost Generation
1958 - G. I. Generation
1974 - Silent
1994 - Boomer
20?? - Gen X

Right now Gen X is pounding loudly on the door.  Pound louder and use a sledge hammer!!  Then barge in and grab this idiotic Boomer Congress by the scruff of its neck and give it the boot.

"I hate my generation.  I offer no apologies." - Cracker

by Airpower 2006-09-14 12:06PM | 0 recs
Long-Term Majority
I think one thing thats important to remember, is that the GOP takeover in '94 was a work a long time in coming. As someone else pointed out previously, the part of our coalition that included conservative southerners was never gonna last. '94 simply created the right set of circumstances for a change that was a long time in coming.
Now, win or lose, here's another thing we have to remember: it took Republicans about 40 years to get out of the minority. We've been in the minority for only 12 by comparison. This is a work in progress.
Even if we win back the House, if we only win 16 or 17 seats, the Republicans could very easily win back control in '08. Still, people underestimate the strength of the Democratic Party. John Kerry's defeat was the first time since 1988 that we lost a popular Presidential vote! This is still, at heart, a 50-50 country.
So what are our long term aces in the hole? One is that the ineffective and polarizing GOP governance of the Bush administration has by and large pulled over independents to our side. And number two, looking at the electoral map, it is the the growing southwest. Democrats have dominated the young vote (people like me who were won over for life by Clinton vs. the incompetence of Bush) and the latino vote. That means in the next election, we SHOULD carry New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada. The tide is turnign in our favor.
by AC4508 2006-09-14 12:14PM | 0 recs
Democrats as ruling party

It's an interesting point... why has america been voting Republican.

One subtext in this post is that they were fed up with government and Democrats were the party of government. They had to vote for the other party, conservative or not, to hope for change, and if they had to think they were conservative for it all to make sense (even while supporting aborting, OSHA, etc) they would.

So would they come back to Democrats? And will Democrats rule differently now than they did in the past?

Anyway, to me this is just thought experimentation because I personally do not think the Democrats ever did rule, really, they had congress for a long time, the Senate off and on, and the President less than Republicans iirc, and also had an even bigger conservative block than we still do in the Democratic Party.  Interesting though.

by pyrrho 2006-09-14 12:52PM | 0 recs

Diaries

Advertise Blogads