Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Republicans Got Shellacked

OK, by now that's pretty obvious. If Montana and Virginia hold up, the Democrats will control both the House and the Senate. I'm actually happy that the Democrats got the House (although the margin is a little disconcerting) but Democrats controlling the Senate will make it much more difficult for the President to nominate reasonable judges and that's something to be afraid of.

Why did the Republicans get hit so hard? I think there are two major reasons: Iraq and corruption. Iraq is all over the news and every day we hear how the country is falling into civil war, how the region is becoming more unstable, how American power in the region is waning, and how the war is making us less safe. The average American doesn't care about spreading democracy in the Middle East or about ousting dictators. Americans want to know they are safe and that the wars we wage will be successes. Iraq certainly doesn't appear to be one.

Corruption is obvious. Even if Joe Schmo can't name his Congressman, he understands kickbacks and bribes. And he wants his representative to represent him and not some guy with deep pockets.

I think the key point is that most voters are woefully uninformed and vote based on intuition, party identification, ads on TV, or a specific issue. How many Americans care about limited government or big deficits? How many understand the difference between an originalist and moralist? How many care?

They want to know they are safe (and at this point they already feel like they are because we haven't had an attack on US soil in years). They want to see less of their income going to the government. Some care about abortion, others about minimum wage. Very few care about both. Some vote Democrat because their family always has. Some vote for Republicans because the Democrats seem soft on terror. The list goes on.

Democrats want to claim this election was about repudiating Bush's policies. Conservatives want to claim the election was not about that. I think both are wrong. Americans don't know or care about Bush's policies on Social Security, immigration, and free trade. What they care about is whether their representatives are being bribed and if America is stuck in another Vietnam. The Republican party failed to deliver and honestly, I don't see the Democrats being much better.

13 Comments:

Blogger Jak Black said...

There's something to what you're saying. But Americans definitely do care about immigration, and the GOP fumbled badly with it.

11/08/2006 3:49 PM  
Blogger Nephtuli said...

There's something to what you're saying. But Americans definitely do care about immigration, and the GOP fumbled badly with it.

Do they? You really think the average New Yorker or someone from Pennsylvania really cares? Do you think he even knows what a guest worker program is? You think he reads Samuel Huntington?

Maybe they care in Texas, California or any other border state. And businesses certainly do care as well as interest groups. But most Americans hear something on the news and go with it.

11/08/2006 4:55 PM  
Blogger Jak Black said...

Nephtuli,

Look up some figures on immigration. It's not just the border states anymore.

11/08/2006 7:00 PM  
Blogger Nephtuli said...

Look up some figures on immigration. It's not just the border states anymore.

The people who answer polls are usually people who have an interest in politics. My point is that most Americans have one or maybe two interests at most and learn about which party is better based on soundbites or they use their gut.

11/08/2006 10:04 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

This one shocked me:

http://unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Granite+Status%3a+In+NH%2c+a+shocked+GOP+takes+stock+of+its+future&articleId=23450150-87ca-4ca3-8d6f-464bcedb5c5a

The Union Leader is probably the most right wing general circulation newspaper in America. Its state now has a Democratic governor (elected by a record margin), two new Democratic US Representatives (first time since 1912, according to one report), and Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature in what just a few years ago was the most Republican in the US. The New Hampshire House last had a Democratic majority in 1922; it went from a 92 seat Republican majority to a 64 seat Democratic majority. "Stunned" is the word used to describe local Democrats:

http://www.wmur.com/politics/10274353/detail.html

This now-blue state will have the first Presidential primary in about 15 months. Stay tuned.

11/09/2006 12:27 AM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

'And businesses certainly do care as well as interest groups.'

Businesses want immigration. So do Republican suburbanites. So do colleges and universities. So do the families of immigrants already here. Add that up and you have a lot of votes.

J.D. Hayworth's loss probably let the steam out of the anti-immigration movement, and that is good. Maybe now we can have reasonable dialogue on how to decrease illegal immigration while increasing legal immigration.

11/09/2006 12:30 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

I thought I commented before...

This election was not about Iraq. The Dems who won are generally supportive of staying in Iraq, while the Republicans like Chafee were tossed out. Best of the Web has a great piece on this.

But it was about corruption, about not accomplishing much, and about false perceptions regarding the US economy. (Honestly - more people thought the country was in bad shape economically than in good shape?! People thought unemployment was high!?)

11/13/2006 11:24 AM  
Blogger Nephtuli said...

This election was not about Iraq. The Dems who won are generally supportive of staying in Iraq, while the Republicans like Chafee were tossed out. Best of the Web has a great piece on this.

I don't think the war was as much a factor as Iraq, but how many voters really knew who was for Iraq? Most voters probably think Republican = Iraq and Democrat = against Iraq and voted accordingly.

But it was about corruption, about not accomplishing much, and about false perceptions regarding the US economy. (Honestly - more people thought the country was in bad shape economically than in good shape?! People thought unemployment was high!?)

I agree, although the real question is how a good economy affects individual voters.

11/13/2006 5:32 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

I wrote several posts which argue that liberalism on social programs (esp. Medicaid) is demanded by halacha. My best, long posts with the most proofs areReligion Exists To Save The World, where I lay out my views on the purpose of religion, which is the total transformation and elevation of the physical world into a perfect spiritual state, and how this must change our politics and our world, ruling out right-wing individualist ideologies.

and
A Divided Nation, But Not Like You Think, where I assert that the divide in our country isn't really right vs. left, Torah holds to no such spectrum, but the divide is humane vs. inhumane, and too often this country is far off into savage territory.

Maybe you'd like to run one of these as a guest blog?

Nick

11/21/2006 1:31 AM  
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