Blowout Lessons 1994 vs 2006
by MetaData, Sat Apr 22, 2006 at 12:50:48 PM EDT
2006 (like 1994) was an off year election. To win with lower turnout requires either:
- Persuading Independents,
- Turning out the base
- Being lucky with complacent opponents
Blog Wisdom (BW) asserts that a Dem 2006 blowout will require leadership, not just Republican failure. We are frequently reminded these days that the Republican Party and George Bush are experiencing a lot of negatives right now: The 190th Do Nothing Congress, Failure in Iraq, Immigration. My local US Rep, Diana De Gette at the Denver County Assembly admitted the Dem strategy of standing by to watch the Republicans collapse, asserting something to the effect of: If they are failing just fine without us, intervening might disturb the process.
The lesson from the 1994 Republican blowout is one of GOP Positives, not Dem Negatives. Look at chart number 4 at the recent "Public Disillusionment with Congress", which is directly linked to on the flip...
The huge factor in the 1994 Republican advance was not built on Democratic declines. In fact the Dems stayed stable from 1992 to 1994 with a 62/34 Favorable/Unfavorable over the time period. In contrast, the Republicans dramatically flipped public opinion from 46/48 to 66/33.
Clinton pushed hard for health-care in 1993 & 94, which died on the altar of the Church of the Medical Industry, but there didn't seem to be lead to more negatives for the dems in 1994. This was the period of Gingrich's "Contract with America": term limits, tax and welfare reform, a strong national defense, and a smaller federal government.
These ideas represent the long-term branding of the Republican conservative wing. Here in Colorado we have suffered our share of the low-tax/small government franchise here in Colorado. Recently, hopefully, people seem to be waking up to recognize good government requires public investment.
But, the point of the 1994 blowout is the following: For some reason that year the conservative branding took hold with the public, giving the Republicans dramatic improvement in the public opinion. This was the key to their success not a collapse in Democratic popularity.
Democrats need to put forward reasons to vote for them, not reasons why the Republicans are failing.