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Did the Bough Break for Democrats?

Don Rose 10 November 2014 One Comment

It’s a good thing I picked a low limb to crawl out on in last week’s election prediction column, because it sure came crashing down. My Thanksgiving dinner will be a healthy dose of crow–with no gravy to disguise the taste. (Does anyone know what the hell crow tastes like anyway?)

I don’t know anyone who actually predicted the wave that developed during the last few days, though I noted parenthetically that fears over ISIS and Ebola could cause one. I would, however, have expected an earlier warning sign.

Why is it a wave?

Largely because GOP won all the red-state races that were expected–but purples as well, except for New Hampshire. They added some 15 house seats, which actually is below the average win for the opposing party in the final mid-term for a president in his second term, though the 8 senate seats is two above in that situation.

But even that won-lost record is not quite enough to call it a wave. What really defines it is the scores of increased margins for virtually all¬†Republicans–and diminished for Democrats. Races that were polling close–within the margins of error–turned out to be sizeable, even landslides in some situations.

Take the governor’s race in my state of Illinois, where it was considered a dead heat going into election day–perhaps two points either way–and Bruce Rauner swamped incumbent Pat Quinn, who Nate Silver favored to win by a whisker (as did I). Republican Rauner’s more than 5 percent margin must have surprised even his most optimistic supporters.

Yet another stunner was the narrow, 15,000-vote victory of Virginia Sen. Mark Warner over Ed Gillespie, who was looked upon as a throwaway candidate. Warner waltzed into office 6 years ago with 65 percent of the vote after an acclaimed record as governor.
A Republican committed the near impossible feat of becoming governor of dark-blue Maryland. Also of Massachusetts, though that state has elected GOP govs before–like Mitt Romney.

This year also it was the Dems who came up with the “oops” candidates, like the guy in Iowa who insulted farmers in a farm state.

I believe the wave developed when it did because of fears of both ISIS and ebola–areas where the administration stumbled before developing a coherent strategy. The Republicans put on thousands of last minute commercials linking those two scary issues with an already unpopular president–whether deserved or not–which drove down many of his earlier supporters and invigorated his enemies.

Now the big question: what strategy next, with both houses in the hands of the opposition, which now focuses on the 2016 presidential .
Will there be some slim line of compromise on just enough issues to have the Republicans look as if they can go beyond obstructionism and actually govern?

Or will they continue to stymie Obama at every turn, in the hopes of making Hillary Clinton look like she’s running for Obama’s third term?

The strategic choices could lead to internecine warfare in the GOP. Stay tuned.

Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer. ¬†He went out on a limb with last week’s election predictions.

One Comment »

  • Mike Buck said:

    The author believes that fear over ISIS and Ebola generated the Republican wave in last week’s elections. But he omitted the third, and most important event that created the trifecta of woe for the Democrats; last Summer’s “wave” of “unaccompanied children” and others not so young, who crossed the border and entered our country with impunity. We do not know whether the Administration instigated this event, but it certainly became a passive accomplice by acquiescing to it, and an active accessory through its de facto resettlement of these illegal aliens throughout communities in the United States, without the consent of those communities. This is an act certainly not contemplated by the Constitution’s Article I grant of authority to Congress to “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” This staging of a “children’s crusade” for immigration “reform” is one of the most cynical and wicked acts undertaken by an Administration since Andrew Jackson orchestrated the Trail of Tears to resettle the Creek and Cherokee. And it did not go unnoticed by the American electorate. Much has been made about referenda in several “red” states approving hikes in the minimum wage, but the most notable referendum result came out of the blue state of Oregon where the electorate, by a 68 to 32 margin, exercised their right to veto a law passed by the state legislature permitting illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses.
    ISIS and Ebola are more than just “scary,” transient, Halloween-like bugaboos frightening a nervous electorate. The Administration’s posture on those matters have convinced a majority of those who take the trouble to vote in off-year elections that this President doesn’t “have their backs.” He is not interested in performing his most fundamental obligation which is to protect the American public. He has other things in mind coming under the heading of “fundamentally transforming” America. And lurking in the backround is, what I believe is still the most important issue with voters; concern over the poor economy as it effects the middle class and the fear that this President is in the process of transforming this country into Pottersville.

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