Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 26, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE MORNING LINE....CQ Weekly says Democrats are almost certain to retain control of Congress next year:

And not only that, but they may now harbor realistic visions of emerging with 55 to 58 seats in the Senate (pushing them within arm-twisting distance of the 60 votes needed to bust a filibuster) as well more than 240 seats in the House, a cushion that neither party has enjoyed since the end of the last Democratic era in the House, in 1994.

In fact, it's now dawning on members of both parties that a Democratic sweep — with gains in Congress accompanied by a reclaiming of the White House — is the inescapable "morning line" assumption going into the 2008 campaign season.

The biggest factor working in the Democrats' favor, according to the writers, "continues to be that they are not the Republicans."

Kevin Drum 12:18 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (44)

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Sixty seats in the senate is not out of the question.

That's a pickup of nine (counting Lieberman as an R):

Smith
Sununu
CO (open)
ID (open)
Coleman
VA (open)
NM (open)
Collins
McConnell
Stevens (to be open)

All of these can be had as long as these guys can be tied directly to Bush.

Posted by: jayackroyd on November 26, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus is weeping. You know that Jesus wants brown people tortured and butchered, gay people vilified, and blastocysts worshiped!

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on November 26, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm, wonder how the Village pundits will analyze this? I mean, economy going fine due to tax breaks for the rich. Check. War in Iraq improving every day, so good we're going to stay forever. Check. Locking up a bunch of foreigners indefinitely and torturing them and listening to everybody's phone calls has kept those terrorists at bay. Check.

What's not to like with Republicans?

Posted by: David in NY on November 26, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

If the Dems don't get serious on the war, I can see a bunch of third party congressional race spoilers on the left, so don't get your hopes up.

Posted by: James on November 26, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

The biggest factor working in the Democrats' favor, according to the writers, "continues to be that they are not the Republicans."

Nonsense Kevin. Have you seen Congress's approval ratings lately? It's lower than President Bush's which means the American support Bush more than the Democrats. So it actually appears like Republicans will win more seats next election in both houses of Congress. Probably enough to regain both houses and rewin the Presidency.

blog.washingtonpost.com/capitol-briefing/2007/11/congressional_approval_ratings.html

"a new Gallup Poll found congressional approval ratings at dismally low levels. More than 70 percent of Americans don't like what the Democratic majority has achieved"
"Just 20 percent of Americans approve of the job of Congress, a 9-point drop from a month ago, according to Gallup. This is one of the four lowest approval ratings ever recorded by the polling firm, which has been testing congressional job approval since 1974."

Jonathan Weisman of the liberal Washington Post also explains why this is causing the Democrats to run scared of Bush and the Republicans fearing being labeled as the do-nothing Congress.

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/11/08/DI2007110802409.html

"they look at congressional approval ratings, which are consistently lower than President Bush's, and they have concluded the public wants them to get things done, i.e. -- legislate. They are very worried about the charges, already tossed around by the White House, that all they want to do is investigate."

Posted by: Al on November 26, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

The prediction of a Democratic sweep sounds accurate to me. Bush's #1 priority is to defeat al Qaeda and have a stable democracy in Iraq. The Dems #1 priority is to defeat Republicans and have a lot of elected Dems in America. Chances are both sides will get what they are aiming at.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 26, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Have you seen Congress's approval ratings lately? It's lower than President Bush's which means the American support Bush more than the Democrats.

No, it means that we are frustrated that the Democrats haven't taken a tire-iron to his defective melon. It means we are pissed off about petulant Republican obstruction.

And besides that, we all know that your comparison is a straw man.

We all know that our congressperson is a pillar of virtue and we owe a deep debt of gratitude that he or she is willing to serve with the likes of your congressman - who everyone in the country outside your district knows will be indicted tomorrow if not right after lunch today.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 26, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican Party was going to collapse due to demograhic changes in the U.S. The incompetence of the Bush Administration just sped up the process by about 20 years.

The real quesiton is what is the U.S. going to be like as a one party state. Will the former Republicans moderate the Democratic Party when they start voting in the Democratic Primary? Which blocks in the current Democratic Party benefit and which lose in the coming one party state?

Also, which state/city is the model that future predictions should be based upon? Maryland, Mass, DC, California, Chicago?

Posted by: superdestroyer on November 26, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

The biggest factor working in the Democrats' favor, according to the writers, "continues to be that they are not the Republicans."

Problem is, it's not enough to be "not the Republicans" anymore. There's a war to end -- finally -- and the budding client-state relationship, to which you referred earlier, which needs to be squashed. And that's just the start. Control of Congress means nothing if you don't have the vision or the ability to lead. That's where Democrats seem to be right now.

Posted by: junebug on November 26, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

I have been on the sixty-seat bandwagon for a while. You'd need the four obvious ones of NM, VA, CO, and NH, then the next tier of OR, and MN, then catch lightning in a bottle in four other races. Right now KY looks good, and maybe Begich can make a go of it in AK, and then probably NC. The tenth is where things get really dicey ... either Tom Allen is going to have to make the case in ME, or we're going to have to get real lucky and win one of TX/NE/KS/OK/ID/MS. I guess if Moore can win MS, there's a puncher's chance.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot on November 26, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think that there will be a one-party state.

I think the Republicans will hang on for another generation, but be of no significance outside the deep south.

I will not be surprised to see the Democratic party absorb the moderate and business Republicans, and either the Progressive party or Green party emerge on the left.

I could be barking mad, but maybe not.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 26, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

It's nice to savor a looming victory. I fondly remember looking forward to Mike Tyson kicking Buster Douglas' ass in Tokyo way back in 1990. Oh, um, wait.......

Posted by: steve duncan on November 26, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

If the Republicans at limited to the deep south, they are not a national party and when was the last time that a regional party succeeded in the U.S? A regional party would be unable to raise the funds that a national party could generate.

Also, I doubt that the progressives or the greens can breakaway due to the same changing demographics that will eventually eliminate the Republican Party. A Green or Progressive party would be as white on the left as the Republican party is on the right. Given the enormous growth in the Hispanic and African-American populations such a leftist party could not be relevant.

My guess is that when the Democratic Primary is the only relevant election, moves will have to be done to move the primary as close to the general election as possible (See Maryland). There may come a time when a majority of U.S. Congressmen are relected without a real opponent.

I also see the Democratic party as trying to eliminate initiative and referemdun because they would be the only thing from them having total control (even though controlling the courts basically gives the sitting government control on all initiative election results).

Posted by: superdestroyer on November 26, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

hey Al...can I have some? it's been a long day here already.

Posted by: northzax on November 26, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

The odds of the Democrats winning the White House are about 64%.

Amazingly, the odds of them retaining either house is only about 90%.

Intrade does not yet have a market for how big a majority the Democrats with get in either House.

Posted by: neil wilson on November 26, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Nicholas B - Scratch Kansas unless Jim Slattery is headed home in a moving van. Kathleen Sebelius isn't going to run for the Senate, because she might get the nod for the vice-presidential ticket, especially if a male gets the nomination. She would be the obvious choice to rechannel the momentum Hillary Clinton has thus far benefited from among female voters to the eventual nominee. And other than Jim Slattery and Kathleen Sebelius, there are no Democrats with statewide prominence.

Sebelius on the ticket might flip Kansas, and Missouri is flipping anyway, Matt Blunt is so dreadfully despised in this state. The two states have 17 electoral votes between them, and tht could make the difference. (If Missouri had gone the other way in 2000, Gore would be President and Bush would have a Peace Prize...)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 26, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK
The real quesiton is what is the U.S. going to be like as a one party state.

It won't be one at all; the US electoral system pretty much guarantees a two-party nation. If a party falls out of favor, it either collapses and is replaced (which, incidentally, has happened twice in US history, and in both cases to the party that was not the party of Jefferson and Madison—first to the Federalists who were replaced by the Whigs, then to the Whigs who were replaced by the Republicans) or it realigns to become competitive (which has happened many times to major parties in the US).

I don't think collapse is particularly likely, it would take, I would think, both a weak major party and an minor party with a strong, compelling message at the same time. There'll be, at best, a very narrow window for some currently-minor party to make its mark before the Republicans simply realign.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 26, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Is this any surprise? It's why the GOP is going to go all out to try and hold onto the presidency, or else they'll be utterly shut out after 2008. (And even so, I'm not sure how much a GOP president would be able to accomplish facing a heavily Democratic Congress, especially a Senate with a working Dem majority.)

The GOP knows it, which would explain the ever growing number of GOP incumbants heading for the exits. Even Trent Lott is now quitting, for God sakes! Time to grab the K Street cash while you can.

Posted by: gf120581 on November 26, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

There are many places in the U.S. that function as one party states. Mass., Maryland, Chicago, Rhode Island, District of Columbia, Utah. There is nothing inherent about the U.S. political system that will maintain two parties. There has not been a realignment since the cration of electronic media, thus, historic examples do not apply.

With the organization, funding, and planning it takes to operate as a national party, it is hard to call the Republicans a national party today given that over 100 Democratic Congressmen are running unopposed. There is no chance for another party to get started. Think of the thousands of candidates that a new party would have to find, the fund raising, and the organization. Many people refuse to vote for a sure election loser and today, most of the republican candidates are sure election losers.

There is also no chance of a Republican realignment. If the Republicans could realign they would have already. There is also the problem that there is nothing that the Republicans can do to attract more black or Hispanic voters without losing even more white voters. The Republicans are trapped in a situation where they are a minority party but anything they do will lose them more votes than it will gain. The changing demographics of the U.S. ensure it.

Thus, the U.S. will soon be like Maryland or Mass. or RI. The first question is what will shape and makeup of U.S. Congressional Districts along with state house and senate districts look like when there is only one political party. How will gerrymandering change when there is only one party?

Posted by: superdestroyer on November 26, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

There are many places in the U.S. that function as one party states.

The two major urban area of Missouri should be counted here as well. In Missouri we do not declare party affiliation when we register to vote. St. Louis and KC are as deeply blue as it is possible to be. Lacy Clay and Emmanuel Cleaver are about as reliably liberal as you can get.

And the rural remainders are better described as populist than reliably republican. You start talking the libertarian line in a district that still has phone and electric service provided through a true cooperative, and you lose 'em.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 26, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

one-party state

The neo-conservatives have banked so much money in the past seven years that they will be able stay viable. Republicans will probably concede defeat in 2008, but by 2012 will be able to again frame public attitudes with enormous advertising purchasing power. Of course, I do not think it matters, as the Democratic majority government of 2008 will not make any real changes to the W. Bush policies anyway. By 2016 many Americans will be sick of the Democrats inability to accomplish anything but enriching insurance compainies and military contractors that they will become tepid Democratic supporters once again, opening the doors to power for another neo-conservative puppet, who will be able to use the military, which most of the current Democratic presidential candidates want to rebuild, to start new wars.

Posted by: Brojo on November 26, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

These GOP obituaries are a bit premature. Hispanics and Asians are not solidly and reliably Democratic, and African Americans are barely over 10% of the population.

We won big in 2006 because Republicans did a horrible job governing and everybody found out that one of them is gay. Hating gays, foreigners, and taxes is still popular in this country, and Republicans are great at hating.

Democrats will do well in 2008, but the Republicans will be as dead as the Democrats were in 1994 and 2000.

Posted by: reino on November 26, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK
There are many places in the U.S. that function as one party states.

Yes, there are.

The US itself never has and there are structural reasons for that which have not changed. The political structure of the constituent parts of the US are different than the political structure of the US itself.

But even so, mass media, technology, modern polling, etc., have made it so that there are fewer, not more, places that are one-party than there used to be in the US. Those that remain are the result of national parties fairly carefully calibrating their message to maintain national competitiveness, while smaller regions may have concentrations of particular ideologies. In the past,

There has not been a realignment since the cration of electronic media, thus, historic examples do not apply.

I don't know what you are talking about. "Electronic media", starting with radio, have been around a very long time, certainly before the New Deal coalition and the fairly major realignment of both parties which followed it.

And that isn't the most recent realignment, though its certainly the most recent massive realignment.

With the organization, funding, and planning it takes to operate as a national party, it is hard to call the Republicans a national party today given that over 100 Democratic Congressmen are running unopposed.

No, its not at all difficult to call the Republican Party a national party. Yes, each party has a large proportion of relatively safe seats in the House, and yes the Republicans are in a weak position where they may not feel they can afford to challenge Democrats in "safe" seats. But that doesn't stop them from being a national party. Heck, a handful of years ago, many Democrats were calling the idea that the Democratic Party should try to compete everywhere crazy and a waste of resources.

There is no chance for another party to get started.

Sure there is, but another party doesn't need to get started. The US already has hundreds of minor parties, and several of them already have broad penetration; if either of the major parties were to falter, quickly one or more of them would benefit by becoming the most viable challenger in many regions to the other major party, which would produce attention, media coverage, increased fundraising ease, etc., in a positive feedback loop. One of them could quite credibly rise through that to become a new major party.


Think of the thousands of candidates that a new party would have to find, the fund raising, and the organization.

There are no shortage of minor candidates, with organization and fundraising efforts. All that is required for a new major party to come together is to connect a relatively like-minded group of them into a network. If anything, that's easier now than it ever has been from the past.

Many people refuse to vote for a sure election loser and today, most of the republican candidates are sure election losers.

Many people refuse to vote for anyone but the person most likely to beat the major candidate they want to win the least. In most cases, if the voter doesn't like the Democrat, that's still the Republican.

In some places, its not, sure. And if it becomes something else in enough other places, that's how the Republicans fall and get replaced. Otherwise, the Republicans remain a major party, and over time realign to be more competitive. At best, the Democrats may get a decade to a decade-and-a-half(starting with the 2006 midterms) of ascendancy before they are back with a competitive equal again, which is hardly enough time to institutionalize that ascendancy.

There is also no chance of a Republican realignment.

I'd say there is a near certainty of a Republican realignment, the only questions are in which direction and how successful.

If the Republicans could realign they would have already.

Until 2006, they were the dominant national party, and many of them believed that dominance would continue. Realignment isn't instant, and the need for it has only recently come to the fore.

There is also the problem that there is nothing that the Republicans can do to attract more black or Hispanic voters without losing even more white voters.

If that was true, one would expect that they could do things that would lose Black and Hispanic voters and gain more white voters. OTOH, I don't think that's true at all. Further, the white voters they would lose on the right wouldn't go to the Democrats, while the Blacks and Hispanics they would gain might well come from the Democrats, which makes them more valuable in terms of winning election.

The Republicans are trapped in a situation where they are a minority party but anything they do will lose them more votes than it will gain.

The Republicans didn't become the party most attractive for white racists until a late 20th Century realignment, and there is no reason they couldn't abandon those positions. Sure, its likely to leave white racists as disaffected voters, and it may costs the Republicans more votes than they gain: but one vote gained from a group that would otherwise vote for Democrats is worth twice as much as a vote lost from a group that becomes disaffected.

Thus, the U.S. will soon be like Maryland or Mass. or RI.

No, it won't. It'll be more likely to be like the US in 2001, but with the two major parties playing opposite roles to those they played then.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 26, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Political parties bank little money. The Republicans are having significant problems raising funds because they are seen as unable to win elections and because of President Bush's ineptness on immigration policy.

If the Democrats manage to pass a new Fairness Doctrine and a new voting rights act along with nationalizing health care and the Republicans will become irrelevant immediately.

The people who thought that the Republicans were going to stay as the majority refused to consider demograpics. The U.S. is over 12% Hispanic, 12% black, and 5% Asian. Those three groups vote overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates. If blacks and Hispanics turned out to vote with the same percentages as whites, the Republicans would be irrelevant today. Look at the prospects for the Republicans in California today and you see what the future prospects are for Republicans.

Posted by: superdestroyer on November 26, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK
....Bush's #1 priority is to defeat al Qaeda and have a stable democracy in Iraq….ex-lax at 12:36 PM
Bush's, and Republican's, number one priority is the preservation of power and entitlement for the wealthy in America. They regard the threat of al Qaeda to be useful to that end which is why bin Laden is still free and they have pursued policies that lead to the growth of his group. Abroad, the development of the New American Empire is the goal.

The Republican Party is, like all parties, a collection of interest groups. In the Republican's case whites, especially Southern whites; the wealthy, and the corporatist elite. In order to obtain foot soldiers and expand their appeal, they began to use language that appealed to fundamentalists and Christo-conservative elements. At some point, both groups but especially the religious right, will begin to believe that they have made a deal with the devil but for the nonce, they still need each other.

Posted by: Mike on November 26, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK
If the Democrats manage to pass a new Fairness Doctrine and a new voting rights act along with nationalizing health care and the Republicans will become irrelevant immediately.

Even were one to grant that this was clearly true, so what? That's a whole lot of "if", with little reason to believe it is true.

Look at the prospects for the Republicans in California today and you see what the future prospects are for Republicans.

How? The California Republicans have to struggle with the fact that California is to the left of the nation, and the national party holds to a position to the right of center to maintain national competitiveness.

The national party faces no such external constraints on how it can realign.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 26, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

"The biggest factor working in the Democrats' favor, according to the writers, "continues to be that they are not the Republicans.""


So maybe you CAN beat somebody with nobody.

Posted by: CJColucci on November 26, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely

As the demographics of the rest of the U.S. change to become more like California, the prospects for the Republican party on a national scale will be the same as for Californian Republicans today.

In California, the Republicans barely a third of the State Senators with no prospects of adding more. In the State Assembly, they Republicans have 40%. With every election cycle in California, the Republicans will lose more seats and become more irrelevant than they are now. If you look at California, conservatives vote with their feet by leaving instead of trying to change things at the ballot box. There is no strategy, no plan, no idea that is going to put the Republican back into the majority in the California State Assembly.

There is no reason to believe that the future of politics in the U.S. will not become like California is today. Actually, looking at demographics changes, it is almost a certainty.

Posted by: superdestroyer on November 26, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK
As the demographics of the rest of the U.S. change to become more like California, the prospects for the Republican party on a national scale will be the same as for Californian Republicans today.

No, they don't. Indeed, if the political landscape of the rest of the US becomes more like California, the national party will have little incentive for the positioning which has crippled the California state party. The problem the California Republican party has is a mirror of the problem the Democrats have in Utah: California tends, overall, to the left (and Utah to the right) compared to the nation as a whole, and the national parties are each positioned to be nationally competitive, which makes each less competitive locally in regions areas that are on the opposite side of the national spectrum.

But while the state parties are pinned, to a degree, to the corresponding national party, the national parties aren't pinned to anything external, and can realign to position themselves to changing national preferences.

With every election cycle in California, the Republicans will lose more seats and become more irrelevant than they are now.

Then why haven't they been losing seats since about 2000?

If you look at California, conservatives vote with their feet by leaving instead of trying to change things at the ballot box.

Certainly, people have been leaving (mostly because you can buy huge homes in neighboring states with the money you could realize selling a modest home in California), but I don't see much evidence that its particularly conservatives leaving out of political frustration.

There is no reason to believe that the future of politics in the U.S. will not become like California is today.

Yes, there is: its called a basic understanding of why California is the way it is.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 26, 2007 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Its not a question about what is the congress' overall favorables.... its a question of the favorables of each person's congress-critter that is important. It seems most like their *OWN* representation, they just dispise everyone elses...

Posted by: senrik on November 26, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Al, who is this "Nonsense Kevin" to whom you refer?

Remember, punctuation is your friend. In your case, a very distant friend with whom you've apparently had a serious falling out.

Posted by: Bob on November 26, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

The biggest factor working in the Democrats' favor, according to the writers, "continues to be that they are not the Republicans."

Works for me. If the Dems nominated a ham sandwhich for any given office, I'd vote for the snack. Republicans are thieving traitors - anyone who hasn't renounced the party by now is basically part of a criminal conspiracy.

Posted by: craigie on November 26, 2007 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Bush's #1 priority is to defeat al Qaeda and have a stable democracy in Iraq.

At least Al's jokes are funny.

Posted by: craigie on November 26, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Oh I'm sure the Democrats can find a way to screw this up.

Posted by: ckelly on November 26, 2007 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

"The real question is what is the U.S. going to be like as a one party state."

I think Blue Girl is mostly right in this, but I also suspect that we're going to get a lot of Hillaries from here on in: intelligent, capable people who can prop up the status quo without freaking people out or resisting the limits of global corporatism -- which is now in the process of deciding that war is bad for business (unless you are Halliburton).

The net gain for all involved is that after Bush (and the spectre of Giuliani), anyone will seem civil libertarian by contrast. And so Americans will be quietly thrilled to get fractional improvement re Kyoto, slihtly more liberal healh care, and even half their rights returned. Hooray for democracy!

Posted by: Kenji on November 26, 2007 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

I will not be surprised to see the Democratic party absorb the moderate and business Republicans, and either the Progressive party or Green party emerge on the left.
Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 26, 2007 at 12:47 PM
----------
I definitely agree with the first part of your assertion. The non-fundie moderate R's will defect to the Democrats in a big way and will be the ones that will sweep them into power. Whether the Dems will get split center/left is contingent on what happens with Iraq and Healthcare and the order in which the agenda gets pushed. If war doesn't become divisive to the Dems as it did in 1968 and they can keep UHC front and center and push that real hard they may get the Presidency and Congress with 60 in the Senate.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on November 26, 2007 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

The idea that the a second political party can exist in the country as a "Democratic-Lite" is laughable. The core groups that make up the Republican party will not support a Democratic Lite party and none of the core Democratic groups are going to start supporting the "Lite" Party. Is such an idea worked, it would have already been tried.

Anyway, such a Democratic-Lite would not get any more black or Hispanic votes than the Republicans get now. As long as blacks and Hispanics vote as a single block, the idea that the Republicans can stay relevant is remote. In addition, the Democrats have the civil service unions, the college and university employees, and the NGO vote locked up.

If you look at the 3-D map of 2000 and 2004 results, it is obvious that the Democrats are capable of routing the Republicans in a large number of elections but the Republicans are not capable of routing the Democrats in more than a few elections. So, in the end, as the core groups of the Democrats grow faster than the core groups of the Republicans, the Republican Party has no chance of remaining relevant.

Posted by: superdestroyer on November 26, 2007 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Is [sic] such an idea worked, it would have already been tried.

I'm not so sure this is the way to look at it. Parties emerge from popular sentiment. Perot tried to start a party from scratch and it failed. Anyone heard anything about Unity '08 lately?

I think we might see an evolution, or an emergence, - some sort of seminal change in the body politic in my lifetime.

But again, the standard disclaimer: I could be barking mad.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 26, 2007 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

My questions are: 1) who has the most state elections officers in their camp?;

2) which pahdee has the geeks who're willing to "tweak" the vote count?;

3) who has the most loyalist U.S. Attorneys in their back pocket?;

4) which political pahdee can correctly spell erection frawd?


Anybody remember Florida in '00? Ohio, New Mexico in '04?

It ain't the issues that matter. It's the vote count.

Sorry to be such a pessimist.

Posted by: Halley Luyah Korus on November 26, 2007 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that the a second political party can exist in the country as a "Democratic-Lite" is laughable.

No, its merely not completely ignorant of history, politics, and electoral dynamics. Heck, the US now has, by the standards of the rest of the Western world, a right and a center-right party (or at least, did so before the minor rightward realignment of the 1990s; it might be more accurate now to describe the major parties as far right and right.)

IOW, it already has Republican and Republican-Lite.

The core groups that make up the Republican party will not support a Democratic Lite party

If the Republican Party is in danger of collapse, its existing core isn't all that politically significant.

and none of the core Democratic groups are going to start supporting the "Lite" Party.

A lot of the business and other groups that support the Democratic Party now, and indeed a number of its current political voters and officeholders whose ideology hasn't changed much, formerly supported the Republican Party before it shifted further to the right -- that is, when it was, by today's terms, "Democratic-Light".

I suspect they'd be quite happy supporting a Republican Party that was exactly like the Republican Party they used to support.

And a lot of the people farther to the right would grumble but settle for it as the most viable alternatives to the full-strength Democratic Party.

Is such an idea worked, it would have already been tried.

It has been tried, many times in US history, often at least arguably successfully (though the party involved's success might, in any case, be due to other factors -- lots of small n problems and post hoc ergo propter hoc possibilities involved in interpreting cause and effect in those cases.) The Republican Party would not be the first party in US history to align itself more closely to a more successful party's position to stem the bleeding.

It wouldn't even be the first in the last decade and a half.

Anyway, such a Democratic-Lite would not get any more black or Hispanic votes than the Republicans get now.

Given that many Blacks and Hispanics are social conservatives of various degrees, that's probably wishful thinking.

As long as blacks and Hispanics vote as a single block

Which Hispanics don't reall do now, and any narrowing of the gap between the parties will reduce the probability of either doing.

In addition, the Democrats have the civil service unions, the college and university employees, and the NGO vote locked up

The "college and university employees" and "civil service unions" have considerable overlap but...so what?

If you look at the 3-D map of 2000 and 2004 results, it is obvious that the Democrats are capable of routing the Republicans in a large number of elections but the Republicans are not capable of routing the Democrats in more than a few elections. So, in the end, as the core groups of the Democrats grow faster than the core groups of the Republicans, the Republican Party has no chance of remaining relevant.

Assuming that core groups stay equally attached, and no new important dichotomies emerge, sure. But historically, that's never been the way things work.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 26, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

mdicely,

I see you drank the Karl Rove Kool-Aid that blacks and Hispanics are really social conservatives and potential Republicans. How two demographics groups that both have over 50% illegitimacy rates along with such high government dependency rates can be social conservatives I have no idea. Hispanics vote over 75% for Democrats and over 95% of Hispanic elected politicians are Democrats. The Republicans would be happy to have any demographic group that supported them as much.

Changes that parties have made in the past just took advantage of already existing demographic and social changes or maybe huge political blunders by others. For the Republican party to stay relevant it has to reserve social trends, something that political movements just cannot do. Also, since so many political blocs are so devoted to the Democratic Party, I doubt that the current class of Democratic politicians can screw up enough to lose the black, Hispanic, Jewish, gay, public employees, college town, or coastal elites. Anyone who says that Democrats vote bad politicians out of office needs to explain why Marion Barry is still in office in DC (the bluest city in the nation).

To describe a political party that is proposing nationalizing health care, has a large faction that is proposing racial reparations, is proposing master planning the entire country along with central planning of the ecnomy as a center-right party demonstrates your political leanings.

In the end, there are just not enough middle class private sector whites to keep the Republican Party viable. Given the huge advantages that the Democrats can vote themselves with a new Fairness Doctrine, public financing of campaigns, and a new civil rights act, the Republican's prospects for improvement are non-existant.

Any attempt to gain black, Hispanics, or minority votes will lose many more white votes than it will gain in minority votes (See Bush and Rove's dismal failure at immigration reform). Even Karl Rove admits that the Republicans pandering to minorities will have not effedct on minority voting but to affect northeastern white voters. There is just no strategy, no plan, no idea that is going to save the Republicans.

If you are correct, then there is a strategy that the Republicans could use to become the majority party in California. Since no one considers that the least bit credible, the other options, that a state with over 20 million people can function is a one party state. And if a state of 20 million can function as a one party state, there is no reason that the U.S. cannot function as a one party state.

Posted by: superdestroyer on November 27, 2007 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK

"There is also no chance of a Republican realignment. If the Republicans could realign they would have already."

They haven't been beaten badly enough yet. Quite a few Republicans don't regard 2006 as either decisive or indicative of a pattern. If they get as badly beat in 2008 as some are predicting, a realignment is pretty much guaranteed.

"conservatives vote with their feet by leaving instead of trying to change things at the ballot box"

If conservatives are indeed "voting with their feet" and leaving California, that means that the states they move to will become more conservative, which pretty much undermines your point.

Posted by: PaulB on November 27, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

"I see you drank the Karl Rove Kool-Aid that blacks and Hispanics are really social conservatives and potential Republicans."

Nice strawman argument. Now how about dealing with what cmdicely actually said instead of stuff you're simply making up?

"How two demographics groups that both have over 50% illegitimacy rates along with such high government dependency rates can be social conservatives I have no idea."

Racist or moron, you be the judge.

"Hispanics vote over 75% for Democrats"

Dear heart, has it really escaped your notice that that number is not set in stone and that it varies by state, by candidate, and by election year?

"For the Republican party to stay relevant it has to reserve social trends, something that political movements just cannot do."

I assume you mean "reverse" rather than "reserve." In any case, you're simply wrong. The Republican Party can stay relevant by no longer focusing on such issues. In 50 years, for example, the Republican Party national platform may not even mention same-sex marriage, just as the current national platform does not mention, e.g., interracial marriage.

"Also, since so many political blocs are so devoted to the Democratic Party"

Follow the money. Until very recently, that money did not trend toward the Democratic Party. And please don't pretend that money does not have a powerful influence on elections. The two major blocs that are associated with the Republican Party have the potential to more than offset any advantages the various Democratic political blocs bring to the table. I'm not saying that they necessarily will; I'm saying that they definitely can, depending on the issues, the candidates, the political environment, and so on.

Right now, the political environment favors Democratic candidates. When the war in Iraq is over, when a larger Democratic majority starts actually passing new legislation instead of seeing it tied up with Parliamentary maneuvers and vetoed by a Republican President, the tide can definitely turn.

Keep in mind one crucial point: most polls are showing that voters are tending Democratic not because they necessarily agree with all of the party's positions and not because they specifically want Democratic elected officials, but because they're sick and tired of Republicans shenanigans and the current Republican administration. Once those are gone, nobody knows where the voters will turn next.

"To describe a political party that is proposing nationalizing health care, has a large faction that is proposing racial reparations, is proposing master planning the entire country along with central planning of the ecnomy as a center-right party demonstrates your political leanings."

Sigh.... These assertions about the Democratic Party are flatly false, which means that your point is moot. But then, so is this argument, since you clearly have no idea what you're talking about and are just making shit up.

Posted by: PaulB on November 27, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Not the Republicans" works for me.

On getting to 60, Idaho is a real stretch (I mean it's Idaho). On Alaska, I think that the only chance is if Stevens is proven to be a total crook but manages to get the nomination (by having been a total crook).

Collins is very likely to make it. So where ? Hmm Mississippi (just kidding). North Carolina (ditto). How about David Vitter (approval over 50%) resigns in Louisiana ? Or maybe Texas ?

I want to believe, but I can't.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on November 28, 2007 at 7:18 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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