Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Take on the 2014 Mid-Term Election; Random Thoughts and Advice to the Two Parties

My take from last night elections.

I predicted Republicans would net 53 seats in the State Senate.  It looks like once all the returns are in and a run-off is conducted in Georgia, Republicans will have 54.  I got three Senate races wrong.  I picked Republican Scott Brown to upset Senator Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire and Senator Kay Hagan to win against Republican Thom Tillis in North Carolina.  Should have reversed them as Brown lost and Tillis won.  Meanwhile, I missed the Pat Roberts race in Kansas as the Senator was re-elected fairly comfortably.  I guess the rule that independents break for the challenger against the incumbent, doesn't apply when the challenger is an independent.

Republicans gained their largest majority in the House since at least the Truman administration, approximately 245 seats seats out of the 435 total.  Of course, one should remember that the Democrats had a majority in the House for approximately a 40 year period during the latter part of the 20th Century.

Probably the surprise of the night was Republicans doing very well in Governorships, with their only major loss being in Pennsylvania.

Now some random thoughts/advice for the two parties, first for the Republicans.  Winning a mid-term is a lot easier than winning a presidential election.  In a mid-term, the GOP was able to run as the outsider critic, not having an agenda except to say the other side needs to be punished for its misdeeds while in power.   But in a presidential election and especially since it now controls both legislative chambers, the GOP will be expected to set forth an agenda, a positive message about the nation's future. For example, instead of simply criticizing Obamacare, the GOP will be expected to put forth a plan to address the nation's health insurance problem.  Republicans haven't proved skilled at setting forth an agenda.

Republicans also need to learn to capture the growing populist sentiment of voters  Putting up venture capitalists (such as David Perdue in Georgia) as candidates doesn't appeal to working class men and women. Sure the GOP got away with in during the 2014 wave, but when the races are more competitive in the years that follow, Republicans need to recruit more populist candidates or face defeat.

Now some advice for Democrats.  Stop deluding yourself into believing the Republicans are in inevitable decline and can't adjust to changing demographics.  It would take more than my 10 fingers and 10 toes to count the times I've heard both parties declared to be in perpetual decline. They never are.  For the last 150 years, the Democratic and Republican have always successfully adjusted to whatever challenges have been thrown at them.

Democrats also need to stop converging on social media in an effort to convince themselves that every Republican is "crazy" and their ideas are all borne out of hatred for women, minorities, poor people, etc.   Believe it or not, Republicans and the people who support them, sometimes just have different values and beliefs than Democrats.  That doesn't make them evil, just possibly wrong.  Democrats need to do better job of respecting their political opponents and becoming more tolerant of views that don't reflect their own.

Finally, the Democrats need to knock off the "War on Women" nonsense.  Nobody believes it anymore and it was a drag on every candidate who tried it in 2014.  The fact is the Democrats have a gender gap problem far worse than the Republicans.  Democrats are losing male voters by an astonishing percentage, far higher than Republicans are losing women.  Democrats need to find a way to reach male voters.

What will happen in 2016?  I don't know. But I know that in politics, every victory sows the seeds of  defeat, while every defeat sows the seeds of victory.  The fact Republicans won big last night just made the road to victory in 2016 that much harder.


Indy Rob said...

I would like to see this republican majority work on price controls for hospitals instead of primarily focusing on repealing the affordable care act.

Fix the broken pricing model that results in hospitals trying to charge uninsured patients 5 to 10 times as much for the same procedure.

I am afraid that instead of trying to make things actually better, the new majority will behave just like the old majority focusing on only those things that work well as a five second soundbite (for example,"the republicans continued the war on woman by ....." or "the democrats continued the war on the American worker today by ..." ).

Pete Boggs said...

IR: Injustice Roberts, horse head in bed opinion- suggests that a tax is a product !?! That odum-scotus fooling ruling is so devoid judicial scholarship as to be fraud.

Health care (aka medicine) is a service like law, accounting, architecture, etc.; which you may note are likewise not taxes.

Morbidly proportioned government is the problem & not the solution; to the administration of quality health care.

Statism is a gateway virus of misery; not good public policy. Like any virus, the advance of statism is reliant on deception or fraud.